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Generous former lottery winner says she accidentally gave away second winning ticket

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Generous former lottery winner says she accidentally gave away second winning ticket
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Says lottery ticket was mixed in with money she gave away

SAN JOSE, Calif. — When Emily Leach stopped by Liquor & Tobacco, a convenience store in the San Francisco Bay Area community of Mountain View, before Friday's drawing for the California state lottery's Mega Millions Jackpot — then worth $290 million — she was already a kind of celebrated figure at the store after winning $1 million on a lottery ticket she bought there in January.

Her recent good fortune allowed her to perform random acts of generosity for strangers, so it wasn't completely out of character when Leach offered $100 to one of the men waiting in line behind her as she turned in an armload of Scratcher cards. During that transaction, she either unintentionally handed the stranger a Mega Millions ticket she had just bought, or made him the lucky recipient of some truly astounding generosity.

Just how generous became apparent Sunday. That's when Leach learned a lottery ticket purchased while she was in line had hit for $260,000. The still unidentified man she gave the $100 returned to the store Saturday to say he had the ticket, and according to Leach, to claim that her good luck had rubbed off on him.

There was just one problem: Leach insists she never intended to buy the lottery ticket for him, and she wants it back.

"That's my ticket," Leach said. "He knows it's my ticket. I feel like I'm going to come off as a huge, huge bitch if I say, 'You need to give me my ticket back.'"

But that is what she's saying. The state lottery commission's security department is investigating, and may use the store's surveillance video to sort the situation out.

"She said she had the ticket in her hand and maybe it got mixed in with the money she gave this person," said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the lottery commission. "They're going to look at the video and see if she's the one actually buying the ticket. If no one else is in the picture, that puts things firmly in her favor."

The ticketholder still had not come forward to lottery officials as of Monday.

"It's a miracle for one person to hit twice at the same store," Leach said. "What are the odds of someone like me hitting it once in January, and again less than three months later?"

According to the lottery commission, the odds of her winning $1 million in January were 1 in 1.2 million; because of the number of players, she had only a 1 in 3.9 million chance to win Friday. The combined odds against winning twice in three months are simply off the charts.

She has faced even more daunting odds. A nurse at the Veterans Administration hospital in Palo Alto, she was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor at a time when she had no health insurance. "I went into the hospital on a Sunday three years ago, and I woke up two months later," she said. "I had been in a coma, and the doctors told my mother to plan my funeral."

After getting threatening calls from bill collectors, Leach's sudden prosperity became both blessing and curse. She was able to pay off more than $300,000 in medical bills.

But she also turned into a soft touch. "There have been plenty of negatives," she said. "Everybody knows everything about me, and everybody has their hand out."

Before Friday's drawing in the Mega Millions lottery, Leach stopped by the store that has brought her so much luck — good and bad — to buy more lottery tickets. The man in line behind her to buy beer seemed to know her life story.

"He said, 'You're so lucky,' and then he started crying and said his gas tank was on empty, and he really needed help. So I gave him a hundred dollar bill. I told him, 'Don't buy any more beer. Do something good for yourself.'"

Leach said that with all the Scratcher tickets in her hands, as she fumbled in her purse for the money — trying not to show how much she was carrying with her — she pulled out the hundred dollar bill and a lottery ticket together. What remains in dispute is whether she intended to hand both pieces of paper to a man she had never met.

On Sunday, Leach went back to Liquor & Tobacco and was told a ticket had hit for $259,269. She says she was told by the clerk that the man whose beers she bought had returned Saturday, and credited her with buying the ticket for him. "That never happened," Leach insisted. "If you look on the surveillance video, in the time frame the ticket was bought, I am the only person that paid for anything in that store."

Lottery business was booming at the store Monday, where owner Young Pham said he planned to turn over the tape to investigators in the next few days. Leach said if the ticketholder does "what I think is the right thing," she would continue to be a generous person. "I think he should give me the ticket back," she said. "If he were to do that, I certainly wouldn't take it and just walk away."

Thanks to KY Floyd for the tip.

San Jose Mercury News

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66 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Jill34786.
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Minnesnowta
United States
Member #125224
March 27, 2012
79 Posts
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Posted: March 27, 2012, 3:42 pm - IP Logged

First!

This spot for rent. Contact me!

    mightwin's avatar - questns

    United States
    Member #103789
    January 5, 2011
    442 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: March 27, 2012, 3:43 pm - IP Logged

    Well guess what, that's her own fault! Should of been payin attention to what she was handing him, plus its not very safe to be passin out $100 dollar bills to strangers. Plus the guy was buyin beer but his gas tank was empty? WTF?

      Avatar
      Monkey Butt, USA
      United States
      Member #54569
      August 23, 2007
      1124 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:02 pm - IP Logged

      Says lottery ticket was mixed in with money she gave away

      When Emily Leach stopped by Liquor & Tobacco, a convenience store in the San Francisco Bay Area community of Mountain View, before Friday's drawing for the California state lottery's Mega Millions Jackpot — then worth $290 million — she was already a kind of celebrated figure at the store after winning $1 million on a lottery ticket she bought there in January.

      Her recent good fortune allowed her to perform random acts of generosity for strangers, so it wasn't completely out of character when Leach offered $100 to one of the men waiting in line behind her as she turned in an armload of Scratcher cards. During that transaction, she either unintentionally handed the stranger a Mega Millions ticket she had just bought, or made him the lucky recipient of some truly astounding generosity.

      Just how generous became apparent Sunday. That's when Leach learned a lottery ticket purchased while she was in line had hit for $260,000. The still unidentified man she gave the $100 returned to the store Saturday to say he had the ticket, and according to Leach, to claim that her good luck had rubbed off on him.

      There was just one problem: Leach insists she never intended to buy the lottery ticket for him, and she wants it back.

      "That's my ticket," Leach said. "He knows it's my ticket. I feel like I'm going to come off as a huge, huge bitch if I say, 'You need to give me my ticket back.'"

      But that is what she's saying. The state lottery commission's security department is investigating, and may use the store's surveillance video to sort the situation out.

      "She said she had the ticket in her hand and maybe it got mixed in with the money she gave this person," said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the lottery commission. "They're going to look at the video and see if she's the one actually buying the ticket. If no one else is in the picture, that puts things firmly in her favor."

      The ticketholder still had not come forward to lottery officials as of Monday.

      "It's a miracle for one person to hit twice at the same store," Leach said. "What are the odds of someone like me hitting it once in January, and again less than three months later?"

      According to the lottery commission, the odds of her winning $1 million in January were 1 in 1.2 million; because of the number of players, she had only a 1 in 3.9 million chance to win Friday. The combined odds against winning twice in three months are simply off the charts.

      She has faced even more daunting odds. A nurse at the Veterans Administration hospital in Palo Alto, she was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor at a time when she had no health insurance. "I went into the hospital on a Sunday three years ago, and I woke up two months later," she said. "I had been in a coma, and the doctors told my mother to plan my funeral."

      After getting threatening calls from bill collectors, Leach's sudden prosperity became both blessing and curse. She was able to pay off more than $300,000 in medical bills.

      But she also turned into a soft touch. "There have been plenty of negatives," she said. "Everybody knows everything about me, and everybody has their hand out."

      Before Friday's drawing in the Mega Millions lottery, Leach stopped by the store that has brought her so much luck — good and bad — to buy more lottery tickets. The man in line behind her to buy beer seemed to know her life story.

      "He said, 'You're so lucky,' and then he started crying and said his gas tank was on empty, and he really needed help. So I gave him a hundred dollar bill. I told him, 'Don't buy any more beer. Do something good for yourself.'"

      Leach said that with all the Scratcher tickets in her hands, as she fumbled in her purse for the money — trying not to show how much she was carrying with her — she pulled out the hundred dollar bill and a lottery ticket together. What remains in dispute is whether she intended to hand both pieces of paper to a man she had never met.

      On Sunday, Leach went back to Liquor & Tobacco and was told a ticket had hit for $259,269. She says she was told by the clerk that the man whose beers she bought had returned Saturday, and credited her with buying the ticket for him. "That never happened," Leach insisted. "If you look on the surveillance video, in the time frame the ticket was bought, I am the only person that paid for anything in that store."

      Lottery business was booming at the store Monday, where owner Young Pham said he planned to turn over the tape to investigators in the next few days. Leach said if the ticketholder does "what I think is the right thing," she would continue to be a generous person. "I think he should give me the ticket back," she said. "If he were to do that, I certainly wouldn't take it and just walk away."

      Thanks to KY Floyd for the tip.

      First she gives the ticket.

      Discovers the ticket is a winner.

      Wants the ticket back.

      Expects him to do what SHE thinks is the right thing.

      What is the right thing in this case?

        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
        mid-Ohio
        United States
        Member #9
        March 24, 2001
        17733 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:05 pm - IP Logged

        Well guess what, that's her own fault! Should of been payin attention to what she was handing him, plus its not very safe to be passin out $100 dollar bills to strangers. Plus the guy was buyin beer but his gas tank was empty? WTF?

        His gas tank was his beer gut and now with his winning ticket he can afford to keep it filled for a while.

        * you don't need more tickets * 
        * just the right ticket * 
           Wink 

          gocart1's avatar - lighthouse
          da bronx,city island,n.y.
          United States
          Member #30516
          January 17, 2006
          333 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:07 pm - IP Logged

          Well guess what, that's her own fault! Should of been payin attention to what she was handing him, plus its not very safe to be passin out $100 dollar bills to strangers. Plus the guy was buyin beer but his gas tank was empty? WTF?

          I Agree!  You have to pay attention when your buy tickets ..A guy just tryed to pull a fast one on me yesterday

          with the mega million 363 ticket....I asked for 5 dollars on mega, he took my 5 bucks and then give me a ticket ..I almost just put it in my wallet but I looked at it first ...It was for one dollar on mega  and he wasn't trying to give me four dollars back...I said something to him which he replyed back opps.   I'm sorry ,I didn't notice ...Well he gave me another four dollars on tonights mega millions...

               I see so many people NOT paying attention when they by or check tickets...i never let the casher check your tickets ...if you can't check them yourself maybe you shouldn't be paying...I dont want to sound mean but I get mad when i read about alot of the cashers duking someone out of money..And it happens alot in New York State...

                New York State refuses to test any of the cashers ..I don't know why...I'll have to ask gov. Commo next time he's in town..PartyUS FlagPartyP.S. .....good luck to everyone on tonights mega millions

            mediabrat's avatar - 18z0typ
            upstate NY
            United States
            Member #108795
            March 31, 2011
            532 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:09 pm - IP Logged

            "That's my ticket," Leach said. "He knows it's my ticket. I feel like I'm going to come off as a huge, huge bitch if I say, 'You need to give me my ticket back.'"

            Yes, yes you will.

            Leach said if the ticketholder does "what I think is the right thing," she would continue to be a generous person. "I think he should give me the ticket back," she said. "If he were to do that, I certainly wouldn't take it and just walk away."

            What does she mean by "certainly wouldn't take it and just walk away"?  Would she give him a cut for his honesty?  Or does she mean he'll get a nice thank-you for his troubles but otherwise leave empty-handed?

            "I think if you think the Internet is a place where it's ok to be cruel to other humans, that's just so sad. You must really be suffering." -- Xeni Jardin

              RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
              mid-Ohio
              United States
              Member #9
              March 24, 2001
              17733 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:12 pm - IP Logged

              "That's my ticket," Leach said. "He knows it's my ticket. I feel like I'm going to come off as a huge, huge bitch if I say, 'You need to give me my ticket back.'"

              Yes, yes you will.

              Leach said if the ticketholder does "what I think is the right thing," she would continue to be a generous person. "I think he should give me the ticket back," she said. "If he were to do that, I certainly wouldn't take it and just walk away."

              What does she mean by "certainly wouldn't take it and just walk away"?  Would she give him a cut for his honesty?  Or does she mean he'll get a nice thank-you for his troubles but otherwise leave empty-handed?

              She probably means she will give him another $100 bill.

              * you don't need more tickets * 
              * just the right ticket * 
                 Wink 

                Avatar

                United States
                Member #122696
                February 6, 2012
                202 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:15 pm - IP Logged

                She is an idiot, I am sorry to say that but she is. Handing out money willy nilly like that she was going to end up broke anyway. 

                She is the prime candidate to get taken advantage of.

                  mediabrat's avatar - 18z0typ
                  upstate NY
                  United States
                  Member #108795
                  March 31, 2011
                  532 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:16 pm - IP Logged

                  Is there precedence for this?  I'm inclined to think she's SOL, but if the video clearly shows she bought a ticket and he didn't, that throws a monkey wrench into the works.  Still, how does the saying go?  Possession is nine-tenths of the law?  There doesn't appear to be any coersion involved.  She may not have meant to give him the ticket, but the fact remains that she did, and there may not be anything she can do about it.

                  "I think if you think the Internet is a place where it's ok to be cruel to other humans, that's just so sad. You must really be suffering." -- Xeni Jardin

                    Avatar
                    charlotte, nc
                    United States
                    Member #108520
                    March 26, 2011
                    53 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:16 pm - IP Logged

                    The man in line was so greedy she was nice enough to give him $100.00 i can see that happening  i give bums money all the time sometime i have lottery tickets tangled into the money.

                    This guy needs to give her the ticket because it was and honest accident that was her 2nd blessing from god when it is his time he will know he is a leach if someone busted out and

                    started crying in the store about their gas tank and knew i was a lottery winner i wouldv'e just filled his tank up instead of giving him $100 because the next time he will have another story.


                      United States
                      Member #124498
                      March 14, 2012
                      7024 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:17 pm - IP Logged

                      I Agree!  You have to pay attention when your buy tickets ..A guy just tryed to pull a fast one on me yesterday

                      with the mega million 363 ticket....I asked for 5 dollars on mega, he took my 5 bucks and then give me a ticket ..I almost just put it in my wallet but I looked at it first ...It was for one dollar on mega  and he wasn't trying to give me four dollars back...I said something to him which he replyed back opps.   I'm sorry ,I didn't notice ...Well he gave me another four dollars on tonights mega millions...

                           I see so many people NOT paying attention when they by or check tickets...i never let the casher check your tickets ...if you can't check them yourself maybe you shouldn't be paying...I dont want to sound mean but I get mad when i read about alot of the cashers duking someone out of money..And it happens alot in New York State...

                            New York State refuses to test any of the cashers ..I don't know why...I'll have to ask gov. Commo next time he's in town..PartyUS FlagPartyP.S. .....good luck to everyone on tonights mega millions

                      uh oh...another sneaky rude P-t-l?  one guy stole my sweet million promotion!! he had the gall to try again!

                      i caught him read handed...ooooh...the dirty rat...i dont hate him though...we bombed his country!!  i still go back...he knows

                      better now...)

                      but some clerks are always messing up my bet too, and making me rush...i would probably give away a winning ticket also with all that pressure at the terminal!  drunks and people with empty gas tanks and no money...and buying ten dollar packs of cigs!

                      i am praying for online lottery in new york...i get no great pleasure dragging my arse to the store everyday!!

                       

                      who was that guy on channel two news...wolf warner?

                      Lets go to the video tape!!!

                      The right thing to do would be to split the jackpot in half...thats my opinion...karma goes a long way!!Hippy

                        Avatar
                        Florida
                        United States
                        Member #124117
                        March 7, 2012
                        51 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:17 pm - IP Logged

                        I honestly would let him keep the winning ticket, i know if i was
                        Even lucky enough to win 1 million dollars that would be MORE than enough for me, i want a basic life with college paid off, a house, car & to help others..

                        That 260k can really do alot for the guy if he is in neeed of the $$.

                          s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
                          Hard Luck, Ak
                          United States
                          Member #23472
                          October 13, 2005
                          251 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:47 pm - IP Logged

                          I honestly would let him keep the winning ticket, i know if i was
                          Even lucky enough to win 1 million dollars that would be MORE than enough for me, i want a basic life with college paid off, a house, car & to help others..

                          That 260k can really do alot for the guy if he is in neeed of the $$.

                          That's a tough call. She never intended to give him the lotto ticket, plus she was nice enough to give him $100.00 bucks for gas. If it was me I would give her the ticket back and hopefully she would be kind enough to throw 10,000 my way. If I was in her shoes that's what I would do. Now if I was the guy who had the ticket in the first place I would have kept my mouth shut and claimed it quietly after all the hoopla had died down. I know that sounds hypocritical but that is probally what most people would have done. Ever heard of that saying loose lips sinks ships!  If the camera proves that she brought the ticket the gentleman should just let her have the ticket because if the lawyers get involved then everyone loses except for the lawyers!

                          "We make a living by what you get, You make a LIFE by what you give!"

                                                                                         Sir Winston ChurchillSun Smiley

                            s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
                            Hard Luck, Ak
                            United States
                            Member #23472
                            October 13, 2005
                            251 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: March 27, 2012, 4:55 pm - IP Logged

                            That's a tough call. She never intended to give him the lotto ticket, plus she was nice enough to give him $100.00 bucks for gas. If it was me I would give her the ticket back and hopefully she would be kind enough to throw 10,000 my way. If I was in her shoes that's what I would do. Now if I was the guy who had the ticket in the first place I would have kept my mouth shut and claimed it quietly after all the hoopla had died down. I know that sounds hypocritical but that is probally what most people would have done. Ever heard of that saying loose lips sinks ships!  If the camera proves that she brought the ticket the gentleman should just let her have the ticket because if the lawyers get involved then everyone loses except for the lawyers!

                            She also stated if she was to get the ticket back that she wouldn't "just take it and walk away"...so  it sounds like she would give him some money from the prize anyway.

                            "We make a living by what you get, You make a LIFE by what you give!"

                                                                                           Sir Winston ChurchillSun Smiley