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A man is suing the DC Lottery after claiming he won a $340 million jackpot, only to be told it was not a valid win

In this photo illustration, tickets for the upcoming Powerball lottery are seen on November 07, 2022 in Washington, DC
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
  • A man who claims to have won $340 million has sued the DC Lottery after being told it was a mistake.

  • John Cheeks says he saw his numbers listed on DC Lottery's website in January 2023, but a contractor said they were published in error.

  • For a while, two sets of "winning" numbers were listed on the website.

A man has sued the DC Lottery after being told what he thought was a $340 million win was actually a mistake.

John Cheeks spent $6 buying two rows of numbers for the Powerball on January 6, 2023, a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia says.

His suit says that when he checked the DC Lottery's website two days later, he saw two sets of numbers listed as the winning numbers for the January 7 drawing, according to photos attached to Cheeks' lawsuit. One of the sets of numbers matched what he'd picked, and the draw had an estimated jackpot value of $340 million, the photos show.

Cheeks said that he presented his ticket to the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming at their ticket payoff center on January 10, but was told that the ticket wouldn't be honored "because it was an error posted on their public website."

Cheeks has since been taking legal action, arguing that he should still be given the jackpot sum. He filed his first lawsuit just two days after visiting the ticket payoff center. An amended lawsuit was filed separately in November 2023.

A project manager at Taoti Enterprises, a digital agency that contracts with the DC Lottery, said in a declaration that during testing on January 6 the incorrect numbers were "accidentally" published on the Office of Lottery and Gaming's live website rather than a test site. The actual winning numbers were later published on the website after the drawing alongside the incorrect ones.

The incorrect numbers were then removed on January 9 after staff spotted the mistake, the project manager said.

In a December response to Cheeks' lawsuit, Taoti Enterprises said his claims were "fraudulent," and that he "purchased the alleged winning Powerball ticket using errant numbers mistakenly posted on the website in advance of the actual Powerball drawing."

Each set of numbers for the Powerball consists of five numbers from 1 to 69 plus a Powerball of between 1 and 26. Powerball says that the odds of winning its jackpot by matching all five numbers plus the Powerball are one in 292 million.

In the lawsuit, Cheeks asked for a payment of $320.6 million, which he said was the amended grand prize amount given by the DC Lottery, as well as interest.

Cheeks listed the Multi-State Lottery Association, Powerball, and Taoti Enterprises as defendants in the lawsuit filed in November. He amended the complaint in January 2024 to list the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming as the sole defendant.

Taoti Enterprises had said in December 2023 that it was "the wrong party to sue" as it does not run the lottery.

"This lawsuit raises critical questions about the integrity and accountability of lottery operations and the safeguards – or lack thereof – against the type of errors that Powerball and the DC Lottery contend occurred in this case," Richard Evans, Cheeks' attorney, told the BBC.

Read the original article on Business Insider