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Lottery Number Misprint Causes Heartbreak for California Woman

Published:

A newspaper misprint caused heartbreak for a California woman who thought she had hit the jackpot.

Elida Betancourt, 69, plays the lottery four times a week and on Tuesday morning her ticket matched the numbers in the local paper for the $54 million Mega Millions lottery.

After double and triple checking, she began to cry and scream. Her son was washing up and rushed into the living room when he heard his mother screaming.

“I thought something had happened to her, that she was having a heart attack or something,” her son, Ray Betancourt, told ABCNews.com.

“She had tears in her eyes. She was crying and saying, ‘I won the lottery! I won the lottery!’” Betancourt said of his mother’s reaction. “And I said, ‘Oh my God! I can’t believe this, mom. It’s a prayer from God. It’s from Dad.”

Betancourt lost her husband six weeks ago and the family immediately thought the lottery win was a gift from Oscar Betancourt. With a leaky roof and California’s rainy months fast approaching, the family thought all of their worries were over. The couple used to spend $100 a week playing the lottery together.

The Betancourts began calling extended family members to come over and celebrate. Amid the excitement, Ray and his sister, Anita, decided they should go to the Fresno, Calif., store where they bought the ticket and check the numbers. Much to their surprise, the numbers didn’t match up.

They called the local newspaper, the Fresno Bee, and the paper discovered it had made a mistake. It had printed last Friday’s numbers by mistake. The paper called later to apologize, but that was of little comfort to the disappointed Betancourt family.

“I didn’t know what to think because I was so excited, because of all the money and then all of a sudden the numbers were not the ones,” Elida Betancourt told ABC’s Fresno affiliate, KFSN. She said the experience was “very, very painful, very painful. You can imagine that.”

“It broke her heart. Everything came to a halt,” Ray Betancourt said. “No more high. Nothing.”

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Comments

1.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - September 17, 2011, 7:39 am
Yep,
An smne culd hav hd th winng tiket and seen th misprnt in the papr and thrw ther tickt awy.
2.
Comment by Starr920 - September 17, 2011, 10:44 am
She forgot to bring her play slips to the store so she played quick picks instead. It's really a shame she missed out but that's why its called a game of chance. Now instead of her family being all up her butt because she won, they're all pissed off because she lost!
3.
rdgrnrComment by rdgrnr - September 17, 2011, 8:36 pm
Yeah, I've seen wrong numbers in the paper, on DirecTV's Active Channel and even reported by the state of TN.
Is it really that hard to copy down and report the right numbers?
Reminds me of my mailman giving me other people's mail and other people getting my mail all the time. How hard is it to match numbers on an envelope with numbers on a mail box? Same with the lottery and people who report the numbers - it just can't be that freakin' hard!
4.
Comment by Starr920 - September 19, 2011, 11:48 am
Hey Jap69, that's a very good point I hadn't even considered. It definitely works both ways - no one won the jackpot that week but the newspaper's mistake could have caused a second prize winner to lose out. Alot of people say just check on your computer not realizing that alot o people do not have access to a computer.

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