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Woman who gave away lotto ticket won't give up

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Woman who gave away lotto ticket won't give up
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Emily Leach, who won a million-dollar jackpot in California last January, said she is hoping to fight the state lottery's decision stopping her from collecting a second jackpot of $260,000 — winnings that came from a ticket Leach has famously claimed she accidentally gave away to a stranger in March.

(See Generous former lottery winner says she accidentally gave away second winning ticket, Lottery Post, Mar. 27, 2012.)

A lottery official informed her that "we gave the check to the man" in June, Leach told ABC News. Leach said she has asked a lawyer to explore her options.

A California Lottery spokesman confirmed to ABC News that Leach would not receive the $260,000 jackpot, a decision reached after an "extensive investigation" by the California Lottery's security and law enforcement division.

"We feel very confident that the person who claimed the ticket is the rightful owner of the ticket and that is not Emily Leach," said Russ Lopez, the California Lottery's deputy director of communications.

These days, Leach, 31, is living with her mother in Reno, Nevada after being kicked out of her California home. (She said the landlord evicted her after deciding he could charge a higher rent to new tenants.)

"Right now, I'm just trying to hold on to every penny," she said.

Leach said she has to stay thrifty because of her ailing health. She used part of her January winnings to pay off $300,000 in medical bills she ran up after a ruptured spleen and a life-threatening bout with pancreatitis a couple of years earlier. Leach said she still has large bills for medication she must take.

It doesn't help, Leach says, that she doesn't have a real job anymore.

She said she was put on unpaid leave from her job at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System after her first lotto win because coworkers complained that there were threats made against her after her win, and they made for an unsafe work environment. She said she was later informed that she would be terminated at the end of her leave this month.

A hospital spokesman confirmed that Leach is currently an employee but said he could not provide additional information without written consent from Leach.

Leach made headlines for the lotto ticket dispute in March, after she said she accidentally gave a winning scratch-off ticket to a man who was begging her for help at a Mountain View, Calif. convenience store. She alleged that the man pressured her and took advantage of her.

Leach claims that she meant just to give the man money but instead, gave him cash and a lottery ticket — the winning lottery ticket, she later learned — while she was distracted by a phone call from her doctor.

"I will be the first to admit I got flustered. I shouldn't have been doing so many things at once," she told "20/20" in March. "But I was just trying to help the guy."

But the California Lottery's Lopez said that surveillance footage from the convenience store shows Leach willingly giving a man her ticket. An account of the incident given by the man claiming the ticket, Lopez said, was corroborated by the cashier who sold it.

"There was no coercion," Lopez said. "It was an act of kindness that unfortunately got messy when the numbers were drawn."

Lopez said the man who claimed the prize money has asked not to be identified.

Leach said that, for now, she's trying to avoid stress that will hurt her health. She is also working on a book about her life.

ABC News, Lottery Post Staff

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27 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by jamella724.
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jackpotismine's avatar - kanji for_peace.jpg
Kunming
China
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January 23, 2008
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Posted: August 20, 2012, 6:18 am - IP Logged

She needs to move on already! They did an extensive investigation and she lost. Try to it the jackpot again.

I'll be trying Automatic Writing to get the winning lottery numbers.

Automatic writing  is an alleged psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. The words are claimed to arise from a subconscious, spiritual or supernatural source.


    United States
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    May 25, 2011
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    Posted: August 20, 2012, 9:27 am - IP Logged

    The book deal she's trying to write should be entitled "How To Not Become An Idiot".

     

      Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
      RIGHT HERE!!
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      Posted: August 20, 2012, 10:01 am - IP Logged

      The book deal she's trying to write should be entitled "How To Not Become An Idiot".

       

      Green laugh


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        Posted: August 20, 2012, 10:21 am - IP Logged

        Green laugh

        Hey Nikkicute.  See Ya!   Just noticed you've become Platinum. Welcome to stratosphere of elite LP membership!   Party

          Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
          RIGHT HERE!!
          United States
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          February 17, 2012
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          Posted: August 20, 2012, 11:12 am - IP Logged

          Hey Nikkicute.  See Ya!   Just noticed you've become Platinum. Welcome to stratosphere of elite LP membership!   Party

          ThanksSmiley

          Platinum opens up a lot more to the sites goodies!!

          It's nice!

            maringoman's avatar - kobold
            Massachusetts
            United States
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            April 14, 2006
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            Posted: August 20, 2012, 9:18 pm - IP Logged

            Her lawyers must be very happy that she is not a quiter. Lawyers hate quiters Angry

            It's a futile effort.

              Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
              RIGHT HERE!!
              United States
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              February 17, 2012
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              Posted: August 21, 2012, 2:29 am - IP Logged

              That lady just needs to start playing again!! She already won twice (although she gave away

              the second win), I bet she'll win again! And win a big one!! Why not?

                HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                United States
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                March 18, 2009
                951 Posts
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                Posted: August 21, 2012, 3:22 am - IP Logged

                Emily, let this man enjoy his lottery monies.  Multi-tasking is not good to you, so refrain from it, it burns more frequently than it provides relief.

                Instead, turn your lawyer's attention towards keeping your job at the VA for you, and insisting upon your paid return [don't ask for a raise or cost-of-living-increase] to working again this quarter!  But, try to stay calm and vital; getting ill again would ruin that strong strategic plan and take monies from your, remaining apx. $355K, lottery jackpot windfall.

                Emily, stick to a budget of $45/month and you can keep playing/gambling in a couple of lottery games weekly.  You've done well for yourself so far and as the saying goes, 'The third time [win] is a charm.'

                See Ya!

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

                  dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                  Oklahoma
                  United States
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                  November 12, 2009
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                  Posted: August 21, 2012, 7:52 pm - IP Logged

                  This is getting old time to move & buy another lottery ticket....Wink

                  I Love Pink & Green 1908

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                    NH
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                    Posted: August 22, 2012, 11:23 am - IP Logged

                    When the store owner/clerk says she basically buys tickets and gives them away, and there's video of her doing it with the winning ticket, how much more evidence would anyone need?

                      dopey7719's avatar - Lottery-049.jpg
                      Midlands, SC
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                      Posted: August 23, 2012, 4:26 am - IP Logged

                      This lady needs to be grateful for what she has and get a life.

                        JoeBigLotto's avatar - Lottery-049.jpg
                        melbourne , florida
                        United States
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                        January 3, 2012
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                        Posted: August 24, 2012, 2:20 pm - IP Logged

                        The first mistake was giving away lottery tickets and the second mistake is trying to fight for it your lawyer won't give you the right advice because he wants you to keep paying him too. Its sad but onething about life is that just because you nice to this guy doesn't mean he will be nice to you . And now he wants to have his privacy if you invested in your privacy they won't bother you so my suggestion to you is just get out of town and start a new simple life somewhere far away. Goodluck you could win again and again.

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                          Posted: August 24, 2012, 2:57 pm - IP Logged

                          This lady needs to be grateful for what she has and get a life.

                          I think that's a poor choice of words.  She has trouble enough with the life she has; getting a new or another one isn't always so easy, even with money.

                            larry3100's avatar - larry icon2.jpg
                            Redwood City,California
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                            Posted: August 28, 2012, 9:12 pm - IP Logged

                            Emily could have signed the back of that Mega Millions lottery ticket and gave it to that man with the premise that if he won a big jackpot,she would get half.Now,as it stands,she gets nothing.Emily has learned her lesson.