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Part of stolen lottery jackpot is returned to Texas man

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Part of stolen lottery jackpot is returned to Texas man
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Willis Willis will finally get some of his $1 million lottery jackpot.

On Tuesday, state District Judge Bob Perkins signed an order restoring to the Grand Prairie man $395,000 seized from the bank account of a store clerk accused of stealing the winning ticket.

"I feel pretty good, a bit relieved," said Willis, 67, shortly after the hearing in Austin. "I'm glad we finally made it to this point."

Willis said he planned to spend part of the money on medical bills and a daughter's college tuition.

"It's all stuff that has to be paid for," he said. "Things I really needed the money to take care of."

About $365,000 of the cash restored to Willis was seized by Travis County prosecutors from bank accounts opened by the store clerk, Pankaj Joshi. The other $30,000 was recovered from people in Dallas to whom Joshi had given money.

Authorities believe Joshi took the ticket from Willis, told him it was not a winner and cashed the ticket himself. He then returned to his native Nepal.

The Nepalese government has frozen an additional bank account connected to Joshi there, said Patty Robertson, a Travis County assistant district attorney. Sean Breen, Willis' Austin-based attorney, said the account is believed to hold around $300,000.

Prosecutors are working with the U.S. State Department to return to the money to Travis County. However, because a foreign government is involved, the process is complicated, Robertson said.

"I really don't have a timetable on when, or if, that will happen," she said.

About $50,000 of the winnings probably won't be recovered because Joshi withdrew it in cash, Breen said.

Joshi, 25, who was a student at the University of Texas at Arlington, is charged in Travis County with fraud and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. His bond is set at $10 million.

Authorities have gone to great lengths to locate him. Robertson said. They have contacted his parents and notified the Nepal Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Newspapers in Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital, have reported extensively on the case, she added.

Breen said he will continue to try to force the Texas Lottery Commission to award Willis the rest of the jackpot. Lottery officials have refused, saying they consider Joshi the winner because he signed and redeemed the ticket.

After Tuesday's ruling, Breen said he wondered how the commission could still deny that Willis was the winner.

"The judge looked at the evidence and determined it was obvious Mr. Willis was the winner," he said.

Willis bought the winning ticket May 29 at the Lucky Food Store at 902 Great Southwest Parkway in Grand Prairie, authorities said. He returned there May 31 to have the Mega Millions ticket and others scanned to see whether they were winners.

The Mega Millions ticket was a winner, but Joshi, who scanned it, gave Willis only $2 for a Cash 5 ticket, authorities said.

Thanks to Aluckygal for the tip.

Star-Telegram

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23 comments. Last comment 7 years ago by rdgrnr.
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konane's avatar - wallace
Atlanta, GA
United States
Member #1265
March 13, 2003
3333 Posts
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Posted: February 17, 2010, 10:39 pm - IP Logged

Great news, hope they're able to retrieve every penny! Big Grin Angel

Good luck to everyone!

    HaveABall's avatar - rocket

    United States
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    March 18, 2009
    1227 Posts
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    Posted: February 17, 2010, 10:46 pm - IP Logged

    I Agree! PLUS ... Pankaj Joshi is a thief!  Look over your shoulder Pankaj Joshi!

    I wonder how much in legal fees, etc. have been amassed thus far?

    Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

    Disney

      LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
      Tx
      United States
      Member #4570
      May 4, 2004
      5180 Posts
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      Posted: February 17, 2010, 10:59 pm - IP Logged

      Maybe too young and too old make for easier targets, but I am not sure about that.

      While of course not all nor maybe most lottery clerks are like that one, there might be very many that when given such a chance will right away reach out and grab it, I guess that the bigger the prize also the bigger the temptation.

      But some people won't need much of a temptation, if the prize is $1, it might be big enough for them.

      Some people (Many?) give their prize money away and never find out about it.

      Do those who sell lottery tickets win more and or more often?

      BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

      "Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem."

        ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
        Idaho
        United States
        Member #56506
        November 21, 2007
        6537 Posts
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        Posted: February 18, 2010, 12:57 am - IP Logged

        I am glad that Mr. Willis was able to get most of his money back. Hopefully, they catch the guy who did this and punish him.

        "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

          Avatar
          Norfolk,VA
          United States
          Member #83225
          December 2, 2009
          757 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: February 18, 2010, 1:01 am - IP Logged

          Maybe too young and too old make for easier targets, but I am not sure about that.

          While of course not all nor maybe most lottery clerks are like that one, there might be very many that when given such a chance will right away reach out and grab it, I guess that the bigger the prize also the bigger the temptation.

          But some people won't need much of a temptation, if the prize is $1, it might be big enough for them.

          Some people (Many?) give their prize money away and never find out about it.

          Do those who sell lottery tickets win more and or more often?

          ''Do those who sell lottery tickets win more and or more often?''

           

          DateLine MSNBC'S Chris hansen did sort of a special on stores that sell lottery tickets that were winning everyday....... when he investigated he found out that the owner of these stores were winning everyday and all they could say was they play the lotto everyday and that they were lucky ........ i think you know were this is going......same situation as mr. willis willis only he's getting most of his money back........

          ''YOU CAN PAY FOR SCHOOL BUT, YOU CAN'T BUY CLASS''Thumbs Up

            rdgrnr's avatar - walt
            Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
            United States
            Member #73904
            April 28, 2009
            14903 Posts
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            Posted: February 18, 2010, 1:44 am - IP Logged

            ''Do those who sell lottery tickets win more and or more often?''

             

            DateLine MSNBC'S Chris hansen did sort of a special on stores that sell lottery tickets that were winning everyday....... when he investigated he found out that the owner of these stores were winning everyday and all they could say was they play the lotto everyday and that they were lucky ........ i think you know were this is going......same situation as mr. willis willis only he's getting most of his money back........

            "they play the lotto everyday and they were lucky"

             

            Nothing will be done about crooked clerks and owners until they start ripping off the lottery like they do the winners.

            The lottery commissions really don't care about anybody getting ripped off unless it's them. It doesn't cost them a nickel if you get ripped.


                                                         
                                 
                                                     

             

             

             

             

                                                                                                               

            "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                        --Edmund Burke

             

             

              dopey7719's avatar - Lottery-049.jpg
              Midlands, SC
              United States
              Member #69698
              January 14, 2009
              303 Posts
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              Posted: February 18, 2010, 6:36 am - IP Logged

              "they play the lotto everyday and they were lucky"

               

              Nothing will be done about crooked clerks and owners until they start ripping off the lottery like they do the winners.

              The lottery commissions really don't care about anybody getting ripped off unless it's them. It doesn't cost them a nickel if you get ripped.

              I Agree! When you have a court of law stating who the real winner is and the lottery commission still won't admit that this is correct...we have a real problem.  That poor man.  I would like to know the back story as to how he figured out he was being ripped off.

                Avatar
                New Jersey
                United States
                Member #77101
                July 13, 2009
                7805 Posts
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                Posted: February 18, 2010, 12:24 pm - IP Logged

                I'm glad Mr. Willis will get some of his money back

                although I wonder if he will have to pay taxes

                on what he receives.  Taxes were already deducted

                when Joshni cashed the ticket. 

                  Dollar419's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                  Santa Ana
                  United States
                  Member #71159
                  February 20, 2009
                  651 Posts
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                  Posted: February 18, 2010, 12:47 pm - IP Logged

                  The morale of this great story: NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!! SmileAgain, congratulations Mr. Willis--please enjoy your winfall!!Party

                    rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                    Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                    United States
                    Member #73904
                    April 28, 2009
                    14903 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: February 18, 2010, 6:33 pm - IP Logged

                    I'm glad Mr. Willis will get some of his money back

                    although I wonder if he will have to pay taxes

                    on what he receives.  Taxes were already deducted

                    when Joshni cashed the ticket. 

                    Good question Starr. Rightfully, he shouldn't have to pay anything since they were already deducted but you can never count on the government to do anything based solely on it being right. Confiscating maximum cash is always job one.


                                                                 
                                         
                                                             

                     

                     

                     

                     

                                                                                                                       

                    "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                --Edmund Burke

                     

                     

                      ca-dreamin*'s avatar - Lottery-065.jpg
                      Chicago
                      United States
                      Member #70678
                      February 8, 2009
                      889 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: February 18, 2010, 6:49 pm - IP Logged

                      I'm glad to see he's getting some of his money back.......this story is a reminder to check your own tickets! As much as we'd  like to believe all store clerks are honest........

                        whitmansm2's avatar - Lottery-029.jpg
                        Right here...can't you see me?
                        United States
                        Member #21521
                        September 10, 2005
                        131 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: February 18, 2010, 7:08 pm - IP Logged

                        I'm glad Mr. Willis will get some of his money back

                        although I wonder if he will have to pay taxes

                        on what he receives.  Taxes were already deducted

                        when Joshni cashed the ticket. 

                        Its not right but of course he has to pay taxes on it!  Its considered income. While that @ss that stole the money paid taxes on the whole amount, Mr. Willis only has to pay what was given to him.  The government will double dip and triple dip whenever they can!

                        For example, a person saves all their lives....they cash out their savings (lets say 401k) they have two million dollars.  two million is taxed (unless they did it right)  Oopsy she died (from shock probably) but she left you in her will.  Now there are inheritance tax...now estate tax...and you get to claim it as your income (if someone messed up) Dip dip dip...now you have enough left to pay for her funeral and the hospital bill because you had a freakin heart attack over the whole matter.

                        Sad but true.

                        No No

                        Don't cry over spilled milk.  Go milk another cow!!

                        Stephanie

                          diamondpalace's avatar - Untitled 2.jpg
                          Dallas, TX
                          United States
                          Member #60284
                          April 12, 2008
                          3856 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: February 19, 2010, 5:53 am - IP Logged

                          Reminds me of a movie Cash. Must get every penny back. LOL

                          I like that the law is doing something right.

                            Avatar
                            Norfolk,VA
                            United States
                            Member #83225
                            December 2, 2009
                            757 Posts
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                            Posted: February 19, 2010, 8:06 pm - IP Logged

                            With a name like willis willis he deserves all his money back....lol

                            ''YOU CAN PAY FOR SCHOOL BUT, YOU CAN'T BUY CLASS''Thumbs Up