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Woman takes Fla. Lottery to court for ticket misprint

Florida LotteryFlorida Lottery: Woman takes Fla. Lottery to court for ticket misprint
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Ann Marie Curcio says her fight with Florida's Department of the Lottery is about more than money. The 58-year-old woman says it's about what is right and what is wrong.

But this week, it also became about a $500,000 lawsuit in which she is claiming Florida's lottery officials are refusing to honor a scratch-off ticket because of a printing error.

"We got wronged. I'm very sad about that," she said from her Ocala home during a telephone interview. "(But) I'm not going to give up."

The story began three years ago when Curcio's husband, Joe, bought her a $20 "Gold Rush" scratch-off ticket for Mother's Day.

The next day the couple headed to Tallahassee to claim their winnings, which was $500,000.

What was supposed to be one of the happiest days in the couple's lives quickly became one of the saddest.

Curcio said Lottery officials told her that there was a problem with the ticket and they weren't going to pay out. The Curcios claimed that lottery officials told them their ticket didn't have a serial number that authenticated the document.

The fight between the two had been going on ever since, with the Curcios claiming they weren't responsible for the apparent printing mistake, and lottery officials refusing to pay.

Curcio's husband, a car salesman, died a month ago of an apparent heart attack, but not before finding two Orlando lawyers willing to help them. On Tuesday, Curcio and her lawyers filed suit in Leon County, asking that Florida honor the $500,000 wining ticket. The lawsuit is claiming the Department of the Lottery had engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practice, breach of contract and misleading advertising.

The lawsuit was first reported by WFTV-Channel 9 in Orlando.

The lawsuit is also asking Florida to pay her attorneys fees and take steps to ensure such misprints don't happen again, said attorney Lawrence Walters, one of Curcio's lawyers.

Walters said Florida's Lottery is just like any other Florida business and has to meet the same standards.

"And the ticket says nothing about a matching serial number," Walters said.

In comparison, when another business — such as a fast food restaurant — holds a contest in which customers can win money, the business has to post the rules in a conspicuous place and also file the rules with Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Walters said that the Lottery never explained to people buying tickets anything about required serial numbers, nor did it post rules about requiring a serial number.

To bring up the need for a serial number now was "the Lottery ... relying on some arcane rule they dug up," he said.

Even if such a rule existed in some forgotten filing cabinet, Walters said, "the average consumer shouldn't not be expected to wade through" such obscure documents to find it.

"The lottery has gotten away with business practices no other business could," he said.

Lottery spokeswoman Jackie Barreiros said the events that led to this week aren't how Curcio or her lawyers describe them. She also said she wasn't familiar with Curcio's lawsuit.

She said the Curcios weren't willing to hand over the ticket for Lottery inspectors to examine it when they first arrived in Tallahassee some three years ago. She also said the couple refused to even take the first step in claiming the prize money by filling out the Lottery's prize claim form.

"From Day One we've emphasized with the buyer, we're human," Barreiros said. "Unfortunately ... we're bound with very specific procedures we have to follow."

But Howard Marks, Curcio's other lawyer, described Barreiros' remarks as ridiculous.

He asked how Lottery officials could have determined the ticket didn't have a serial number if they hadn't examined it.

He also said Lottery officials wanted to take the ticket and keep it, and if they had, without a ticket there would be no case.

Meanwhile, Curcio said she wouldn't give up.

"No, I have to continue with this," she said.

As for what she might do with the winnings if she ever gets the money, Curcio said she's too busy grieving her husband to think about that.

"I don't even know," she said. "I'm taking everything one step at a time."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Ocala

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50 comments. Last comment 4 years ago by lotto BJ.
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New Member
Athens, GA
United States
Member #53242
June 28, 2007
2 Posts
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Posted: May 21, 2010, 8:33 am - IP Logged

I think Florida lottery should pay up. I would be excited to see I had matched the numbers. I don't look to see if my scratch tickets have a serial number, just the number at the bottom of the scratch ticket.  Pay up Florida, do the right thing. It was your printing mistake. Don't send tickets out with flaws.

    mjwinsmith's avatar - moon

    United States
    Member #391
    June 8, 2002
    13867 Posts
    Online
    Posted: May 21, 2010, 9:00 am - IP Logged

    I think Florida lottery should pay up. I would be excited to see I had matched the numbers. I don't look to see if my scratch tickets have a serial number, just the number at the bottom of the scratch ticket.  Pay up Florida, do the right thing. It was your printing mistake. Don't send tickets out with flaws.

     I am on the same page, as you, as long as the purchaser of the ticket did not alter it, the state of Florida should pay. If not then the state loses all credibility to players of the scratch off tickets. What would be the next excuse, the ticket had the wrong color ink on it, give me a freaking break.

     >Michael

      Raven62's avatar - binary
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #17843
      June 28, 2005
      17937 Posts
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      Posted: May 21, 2010, 9:57 am - IP Logged

      All the Lottery Scammers aren't in Nigeria: Some of them may be in the Florida selling bogus Florida Instant Lottery Tickets!

      Where is that Misprinted/Bogus Lottery Ticket Insurance when you need it?

      A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

        time*treat's avatar - radar

        United States
        Member #13130
        March 30, 2005
        2171 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: May 21, 2010, 10:30 am - IP Logged

        Somehow losing tickets are never misprints.  Roll Eyes

        In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
        Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

          Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
          Little Rock, AR
          United States
          Member #68365
          December 19, 2008
          232 Posts
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          Posted: May 21, 2010, 11:02 am - IP Logged

          This is why I would not quit my job until I went to the lottery headquaters and verfiy that I had indeed won. I would be too scared crap like this would happen. Flordia should pay up.

            1977's avatar - flower2
            st. pete
            United States
            Member #6680
            September 3, 2004
            1171 Posts
            Online
            Posted: May 21, 2010, 11:17 am - IP Logged

            When Florida Lottery sells you a ticket you are buying it in GOOD FAITH---So FLORIDA LOTTERY should pay up. They just thought this couple Would just accept it and go away. I am going to email the florida lottery and express my dismay about this incident .This could have been me or you  or anybody else that thought they have a  chance  on getting paid "when we buy a  winning ticket.

              RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
              mid-Ohio
              United States
              Member #9
              March 24, 2001
              17935 Posts
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              Posted: May 21, 2010, 11:37 am - IP Logged

              The picture clearly shows the letters TH under the top "1" and the letters ONE under the other "1", they are not matching "1"s.  There's no misprint and there's no match which was required to win.  That's Florida lottery original story and they are probably going to stick with it. 

              Part of the excitement of playing scratch-offs are those types of tricks that make you think you've won until you take a closer look, that's the reason I seldom play them and when I do I prefer the ones that say match the symbol three times and you win..

              * you don't need more tickets, just the right ticket * 
              * your best chance at winning a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
                   Wink 

                Avatar

                United States
                Member #85339
                January 13, 2010
                143 Posts
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                Posted: May 21, 2010, 11:40 am - IP Logged

                Whenever I go to FL, it looks like I won't be buying any lottery tickets there.

                  Set4life's avatar - 2554
                  East Hampton, NY
                  United States
                  Member #41995
                  June 25, 2006
                  1135 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: May 21, 2010, 12:31 pm - IP Logged

                  Shame on you fl lotto.  Gl to her getting her money!!

                       $Group Hug$

                       FOR THE WIN!

                    Avatar
                    Atlanta, GA
                    United States
                    Member #1265
                    March 13, 2003
                    3326 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: May 21, 2010, 12:35 pm - IP Logged

                    All the Lottery Scammers aren't in Nigeria: Some of them may be in the Florida selling bogus Florida Instant Lottery Tickets!

                    Where is that Misprinted/Bogus Lottery Ticket Insurance when you need it?

                    I Agree!   It's common sense the serial number of the ticket should be a match to what any lottery has in their records.  If I remember correctly that was shown in a tv program about the printing of instant game tickets.

                    Good luck to everyone!

                      Avatar
                      NY
                      United States
                      Member #23835
                      October 16, 2005
                      2838 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: May 21, 2010, 1:34 pm - IP Logged

                      "And the ticket says nothing about a matching serial number," Walters said.

                      So where's the picture of the back of the ticket? I'm guessing it says pretty clearly that the game is subject to all of the lottery's rules. I can't imagine anybody being so stupid that they think all of the rules would actually fit on the ticket.

                      Plain and simple, the ticket failed the validation test because it wasn't a winning ticket. As RJ point out, you don't even need a serial number to think the ticket may not be a winner, since the letters under the "1" obviously don't indicate that it should be a "1".

                        HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                        United States
                        Member #72448
                        March 18, 2009
                        984 Posts
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                        Posted: May 21, 2010, 1:35 pm - IP Logged

                        The picture clearly shows the letters TH under the top "1" and the letters ONE under the other "1", they are not matching "1"s.  There's no misprint and there's no match which was required to win.  That's Florida lottery original story and they are probably going to stick with it. 

                        Part of the excitement of playing scratch-offs are those types of tricks that make you think you've won until you take a closer look, that's the reason I seldom play them and when I do I prefer the ones that say match the symbol three times and you win..

                        Thanks RJOh, since I don't play often, I forgot about "EVERYTHING much match."  It is obvious that there is a "TH" under the top # sequence to match ... I'm surprised that this woman's husband found not 1, but 2 unobservant lawyers willing to distract a judge thereby spending the State of Florida's income tax paying citizens money -- intended robbery! This woman should face charges!

                        Having millions of dollars in my financial accounts means more, consistent fun for me.Lovies

                          jump1900's avatar - Lottery-028.jpg
                          North Carolina
                          United States
                          Member #48155
                          December 12, 2006
                          3007 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: May 21, 2010, 2:15 pm - IP Logged

                          sue there azz for $500,000 for pain and sufferingCussing Face...it hurt's me just to read

                          about. some people wouldn't be that  nice about. where i come from...sh$t

                          happens.Chair

                          7777 I got five on it.

                            Raven62's avatar - binary
                            New Jersey
                            United States
                            Member #17843
                            June 28, 2005
                            17937 Posts
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                            Posted: May 21, 2010, 2:24 pm - IP Logged

                            Somehow losing tickets are never misprints.  Roll Eyes

                            Their may be: Players wouldn't know unless they take each and every Instant Ticket to their Lottery Retailer and have them verify as to whether each Ticket is a Winner or a Loser!

                            If the Serial Number of the Ticket said the Ticket was a Winner and the Face of the Ticket said it was a Loser: Would the Lottery again Refuse to Pay and use the excuse that the Ticket is a Misprint?

                            The Instant Games don't seem to be Fair for Players, but extremely Profitable for the Lottery!

                            A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!