A Washington, D.C. woman who thought she won $20,000 through the lottery, but whose ticket was later deemed invalid, has said she did not do anything wrong and deserves the money. Now, lotto officials are investigating the ordeal.
Ardella Newman purchased the $2 scratch-off ticket on Aug. 22, TV station WJLA reported Monday.
“When I saw that $20,000, you don’t know how excited I was,” she said.
However, lottery officials have told her the ticket was issued in error, noting that normal tickets have the winning numbers on the top but Newman’s ticket had the numbers listed on the bottom.
Newman has since filed a complaint with the Virginia Lottery, WJLA reported.
“I want the money that I thought I won. If you look at the ticket, it says I won this money. It wasn’t anything that I did wrong. It’s what they did wrong,” she said.
Officials with the lottery responded Tuesday to reports of the mishap, saying the situation was still under investigation by the organization’s Audit and Security Department.
An initial investigation showed Newman’s ticket was in fact two different tickets.
“One ticket was cut off near the top, and the corresponding top of a different ticket was still attached at the perforation,” Virginia Lottery Communications Specialist John Hagerty said in a statement.
Newman’s ticket contained a fully intact barcode and validation code, both indicating it was not a winner, Hagerty added.
“We can not award a prize for a nonwinning ticket. Additionally, we cannot take parts of two tickets to create one winning ticket,” he said.
“Among other things,” Hagerty said investigators were looking into whether the self-service machine that distributed the ticket caused the error.
When asked about the situation, officials at the store where Newman purchased the ticket told WJLA that only trained lottery officials are allowed to load the machines.
The Tribune Media Wire contributed to this report.