Four Crazy Tales Where Lottery Winners Lost Their Tickets

Evan Lambert

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lost lottery tickets

A lottery win is already considered one of the luckiest occurrences on Earth. But imagine winning the lottery, then losing or misplacing your lottery ticket, then miraculously finding that ticket again. Now that’s luck.

On the other hand, imagine going through all that and then never recovering the ticket again. That’s a cruel twist of fate, and of course that’s one of the value propositions of digital ticket couriers such as Jackpocket: to guard against the horror of misplacing a small piece of paper that represents a completely different life.

But for now, paper still rules the day in most parts of the country. So here are the most infamous instances of winners who lost their tickets, and in some cases, missed out on millions.

Martyn Tott changes hearts but not minds

Before he won $3 million in 2001, Martyn Tott led a relatively happy life as a purchasing manager in Watford, England. His winning ticket, of course, promised luxury he’d never dreamed of; but unfortunately, he didn’t recover the ticket in time to prove he’d won. Where he left it was besides the point. The real injustice here was that Tott had proved to the lottery organizer Camelot via computer records that he’d won; still, Camelot refused to pay up.

But Tott didn’t go down without a fight: He and his wife Kay launched a media campaign to change Camelot’s mind. They attracted national sympathy and even captured the support of Richard Branson and Tony Blair. Still, Camelot didn’t budge, leading Tott to feel even further from his promised winnings. Sadly, the resultant frustration led Tott to launch three unsuccessful legal battles against Camelot. These only ruined his marriage and ultimately sent him right back to Watford, where he now lives, single.

Khalil Soussa’s housekeeper to the rescue

More recently, a man in Medford, Massachusetts had a little bit more luck after misplacing his lottery ticket. In Khalil Soussa’s case, he completely forgot he had a lottery ticket until his housekeeper discovered a dusty, crumpled, months-old lottery ticket in his vase. Then, upon looking up the numbers just for fun, he learned that his $15,000,000 Money Maker ticket was actually a $1,000,000 money maker. In the end, Soussa opted for a one-time post-tax payment of $650,000, which he said he’d donate to charity.

A cashier raises suspicion

For Paul Little of Lakeville, Massachusetts, his lottery ticket became a thing of the past after he accidentally left it on the counter of a convenience store. Unable to retrace his steps after losing it, he did what any average person would do and let it go, believing that he probably wouldn’t win. Well, he was wrong.

After he left the tickets, another customer at the same store spotted them lying on the counter and alerted the clerk. Instead of putting them aside and awaiting Little’s return, the clerk, Carly Nunes, stashed the ticket and decided to see for herself.

As it turned out, Little’s ticket had won Nunes $3,000,000. But then she took poor care of it and attracted suspicion when she submitted it in tatters at the Massachusetts State Lottery Headquarters. Thankfully, a good Samaritan flagged Nunes and inspired state police to launch an investigation against her. The result was that Little was identified via store footage as the rightful winner. After his face was distributed and placed on posters around town, Little learned of his win and happily claimed his cash.

Lost, found, and lost

In 1986, the Lavigeurs of Quebec became millionaires overnight after winning $7,650,267 – then the largest lottery jackpot in history. But they wouldn’t have collected their winnings if not for a very honest man named William Murphy, who showed up on Jean-Guy Lavigueur’s porch with the latter’s wallet. Lavigeur had left the wallet while stepping out of his car, and naturally the wallet contained a flashy new winning lottery ticket.

What set the Lavigeurs apart, however, was what happened to them next. For years, Jean-Guy Lavigeur had raised his four children solo after the passing of their mother, Micheline. He even bought his winning ticket with the help of three of his children, Yve, Sylvie, and Michel, who all pitched in. He also split his winnings with them, because fair is fair.

But then his daughter, Louise, who did not pitch in, took her own father to court and sued him for part of the winnings. The ensuing drama led the family to misery, dragging Louise to an early death and the rest of the family to bankruptcy. Maybe they should have just left their wallet with that Good Samaritan.