She thought she won $250,000 in the lottery, but the lottery said it's not paying. The lottery said what appeared to be a winning ticket was a misprint.
Tina Coley buys her scratch off tickets at the same store every week. She said she almost had a heart attack when she matched a number for a quarter of a million dollars. But the Florida Lottery said the ticket is a misprint and Coley's only entitled to $20.
Coley and her family raise German Shepherds. They have enough puppies to keep them smiling, despite a weeks-long roller coaster ride.
Coley bought a ticket at the Sunoco Food Mart just outside Oviedo and scratched it at a stoplight.
"I'm sitting at the light and I scratched the ticket and realize that the two matched the two on the ticket and it was worth $250,000. My hands started shaking. I couldn't drive. The people behind me were tooting their horns," Coley explained.
Right away, she drove to the lottery office in Casselberry, where they copied the ticket and sent the original to Tallahassee. Two weeks later, a lottery official called to say the ticket was a pretty big mistake.
"They said it's a misprint. They misprinted the ticket and they say it's not their responsibility to pay me any of the money," Coley said.
In fact, they put it in writing with a letter to Coley saying, "There is a printing defect which could make the 22 appear as a 2." They said, no dice, and offered her $300-worth of lottery tickets for her trouble.
"Whether they misprinted it or correctly printed it, it's not my fault that they didn't print the ticket properly and, as far as I was concerned, I won $250,000.
Friday, the Lottery issued a statement saying they print 500-million tickets a year and that "the very nature of any mechanical printing process can never guarantee 100% accuracy."
They said, under the number two, a partial printing of an abbreviation for 22 appears, so the lottery decided the mistake should play out in their own favor.
"I think God has a really strange sense of humor, to give you $250,000 and take it away in the next breath," Coley said.
Lottery officials originally told Coley she could have her winning ticket back, but now that they've said 'Sorry, Charlie,' they decided they'd keep the questionable ticket.