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Florida grandmother says state agency's mistake cost her lottery winnings

Jul 9, 2019, 11:49 am

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Includes video report

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Bobbi Segel said she can still remember the feeling she had scratching off the winning lottery ticket.

"According to my children, I sounded like a teenager in high school squealing at her prom date," Segel said.

Segel said she was hoping to use $1,000 she won on an upcoming family trip she had already planned.

"I thought, 'Woo hoo! Vacation! Party! Key West," Segel said. "That was all that was going through my mind at the time of winning that lottery."

She also considered using the rest to help pay for repairs around her Kissimmee home that suffered some damage during Hurricane Irma.

"I couldn't get help from anybody to get it fixed," Segel said. "So, I need money."

When she went to the Florida Lottery District Office in Orlando to cash her winning ticket, she got denied and was told the state had intercepted all her winnings — all because she reportedly owed more than $1,700 from almost 30 years ago.

A closer look at the letter sent from the Florida Department of Children and Families shows it was a mistake. The state agency acknowledges it happened back in the 1990s.

Segel said when she called the state agency to explain the amount owed, she was told it was for welfare payments for one of her children.

"I don't remember cashing a welfare check, I remember cashing a child support check — but not a welfare check," Segel said.

Segel said when she asked the state agency for more proof — the agency sent her this faded paperwork from the 1990s. It showed the Department of Health and Rehab Services did indeed make an error and overpaid on her daughter's child support case using family grant money.

"I said, 'Do you have a check? Do you have anything that shows I cashed a welfare check?
A State of Florida welfare check?'" Segel said, describing the conversation she had with a Florida Department of Children and Families representative. "She said, 'No, we just have the letter showing that we distributed your distribution for $303 per month."

It turns out even though it was the state agency's mistake, Segel was on the hook for the $1,782 the state overpaid. The state sent Segel a letter they claimed they sent her back in 1992, to a Tampa P.O. Box.

Segel said she never received the letter, but admits her family moved around Florida a lot.

Segel said her ex-husband still owes thousands in back child support for their now adult daughter, and the state is doing little to collect on that.

She just wants to know why the state did not try to contact her about the overpayment, instead of just seizing her winnings.

"Why have they not contacted me?" said Segel. "I'm not trying to defraud anybody. I'm not trying to take away from another person or agency. Bottom line, it was their fault."

News 6 checked with the Florida Lottery Headquarters, Florida Department of Children and Families, and the Florida Department of Revenue to see if there was any centralized database you could use so you could check if you owe any money to the state.

There isn't one.

The only way you will know if you owe any money, is to contact your local tax office or check the state website for child support services.

Parents can get information about child support payments at myfloridacounty.com.

If parents receive services from the Department's Child Support Program, they can obtain similar information through the Department's online eServices portal.

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, so far this year the state has intercepted 474 lottery winning collections totaling $483,211.

In 2018, the agency intercepted a total of 990 collections totaling $1,014,686.

Segel said she hopes that her personal story will serve as a warning to others.

"You will lose your money," said Segel. "They don't pay!"

Anyone caught trying to dodge the system and who tries to get someone else to claim their lottery winnings for them could end up in jail. According to the Florida Lottery, Florida Statute 24.118 addresses that issue. It considers the crime a first-degree misdemeanor and you could spend up to a year in state prison if found guilty of the crime.

VIDEO: Watch the report

S5vDSyyqopYFlorida grandmother says state agency's mistake cost her lottery winningsWhen a Florida grandmother went to the Florida Lottery District Office in Orlando to cash her winning ticket, she got denied and was told the state had intercepted all her winnings — all because she reportedly owed more than $1,700 from almost 30 years ago.PT04M02Shttps://img.youtube.com/vi/S5vDSyyqopY/hqdefault.jpghttps://youtu.be/S5vDSyyqopY2019-07-09T11:43:00-05:00

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17 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by Stack47.
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music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
Fresno, California
United States
Member #157851
August 2, 2014
3931 Posts
Offline
Posted: July 9, 2019, 1:14 pm - IP Logged

Where does this winner come up with money to play the lottery?

 Not enough money to hire a lawyer.

 Her Ex will be caught.  Think guys, "You make a baby at any age and you will be paying for at least 18 years".

Disney

 "We are all in this together!" 

    Bluegal1's avatar - Lottery-009.jpg
    Queens NY
    United States
    Member #141852
    April 25, 2013
    202 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: July 9, 2019, 1:33 pm - IP Logged

    Where does this winner come up with money to play the lottery?

     Not enough money to hire a lawyer.

     Her Ex will be caught.  Think guys, "You make a baby at any age and you will be paying for at least 18 years".

    Disney

    All it takes is a dollar and a dream, and I'd say she at least had a dollar.  She wasnt collecting welfare, she was collecting child support, big difference. Usually if you owe money on welfare and hit the lottery, the state takes what you owe and gives you the rest.  Apparently her winnings were not much, as it looks like it was less than about 2500 and they took all of it.  So I guess it covers the amount they claim she owes

    Twin Peaks*"We are like the dreamer, who dreams, and then lives inside the dream. But, who is the dreamer?"*Twin Peaks

      Avatar

      United States
      Member #190958
      July 9, 2018
      41 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: July 9, 2019, 3:50 pm - IP Logged

      I guess there is a lesson to be learned in this article ... no 'Hootin an Hollarin' ... 'Shouting' ... 'Back flips' ... 'Buying drinks for everyone' ... till you have those Benjamins firmly in your hands !!!

      ...

        Avatar
        Chasing $ Millions.
        White Shores- California
        United States
        Member #136473
        December 12, 2012
        6279 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: July 9, 2019, 4:12 pm - IP Logged

        lt would seem that Bobbi was getting so many checks back then, that this one slipped through the cracks. It may have been the State’s mistake in overpaying her, but that is why it’s called Karma. Just to think, if Bobbi had never won, the State would not have come calling, Bobbi has been lucky!

         * Voice of Reason *   

         

        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

          music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
          Fresno, California
          United States
          Member #157851
          August 2, 2014
          3931 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: July 9, 2019, 5:20 pm - IP Logged

          I guess there is a lesson to be learned in this article ... no 'Hootin an Hollarin' ... 'Shouting' ... 'Back flips' ... 'Buying drinks for everyone' ... till you have those Benjamins firmly in your hands !!!

          ...

          I Agree! with you Concord.  When you do not tell anyone your good news than they will not know. 

           Keep quiet. Go slow. 

           Some winners need to claim immediately because they are living pay check to pay check. Try to slow down as much as possible.

           Learn how to say NO.

           "We are all in this together!" 

            LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
            Green Bay
            United States
            Member #169386
            October 15, 2015
            2508 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: July 9, 2019, 5:39 pm - IP Logged

            'Woo hoo! Vacation! Party! Key West,"   BTW I need money to fix my home.  Hello????

            Never give up.  Banana

              Avatar
              Kentucky
              United States
              Member #32651
              February 14, 2006
              8935 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: July 9, 2019, 6:06 pm - IP Logged

              Every time I won a prize over $600 but under $5000 they asked for my drivers license, SS card, filled out a claims form and a W-2G. I've cash in more than one state and each form asked if I owed back child support and any court awards. What is different about my experience is they paid me after I signed everything. Kentucky has cashing agents and in Ohio any retailer could validate and fill out the forms and then took them to a bank and collect. I cashed a ticket at a WVA casino/racetrack and was paid there too.

              Never cashed in Florida, but it seems odd players go to lottery headquarters cash tickets under $5000 and have to wait until other state agencies clears them getting cash or a check.

                Avatar

                United States
                Member #190958
                July 9, 2018
                41 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: July 9, 2019, 6:42 pm - IP Logged

                Just to add, from what the lottery winner said. It didn't make any sense to me:

                "I thought, 'Woo hoo! Vacation! Party! Key West," Segel said. "That was all that was going through my mind at the time of winning that lottery."

                She also considered using the rest to help pay for repairs around her Kissimmee home that suffered some damage during Hurricane Irma.

                "I couldn't get help from anybody to get it fixed," Segel said. "So, I need money."

                ... OK, she is in need of house repairs, ... well taxes will reduce the amount some, so the 'house repairs' should be first on the list. She says she needs money since as she said ... 'I couldn't get help from anybody to get it fixed'.

                Whatever is left after the repairs, if any money at all ... maybe put away for a 'rainy day' ... especially in Florida.

                ... maybe a very small 'mini-vacation' might be possible.

                It just seemed crazy to me that Key West would be more important than repairing the house.

                It would be a no-brainer to me ... but it's not all that important anyway, since she's not going to get any money.

                I'm glad the states do try to get money back for the tax payers, many of these people have already hit the lottery years ago with tax payer money ... so pay up and pay it back. A lot of that money will never get paid back ... with fake names (IDs), fake addresses and other people cashing tickets.

                ...

                  sweetie7398's avatar - flower2
                  100

                  United States
                  Member #22701
                  September 30, 2005
                  13208 Posts
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                  Posted: July 9, 2019, 7:35 pm - IP Logged

                  Wow, interesting!

                  Life, love, family Love

                    Bluegal1's avatar - Lottery-009.jpg
                    Queens NY
                    United States
                    Member #141852
                    April 25, 2013
                    202 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: July 9, 2019, 9:17 pm - IP Logged

                    Every time I won a prize over $600 but under $5000 they asked for my drivers license, SS card, filled out a claims form and a W-2G. I've cash in more than one state and each form asked if I owed back child support and any court awards. What is different about my experience is they paid me after I signed everything. Kentucky has cashing agents and in Ohio any retailer could validate and fill out the forms and then took them to a bank and collect. I cashed a ticket at a WVA casino/racetrack and was paid there too.

                    Never cashed in Florida, but it seems odd players go to lottery headquarters cash tickets under $5000 and have to wait until other state agencies clears them getting cash or a check.

                    Same here in NY, if you win anything over $600 bucks, you can mail in your winning ticket by registered mail return receipt, and get your check back minus anything you may owe and also minus taxes, or, you can go into any NY Lottery Customer Service Center, with your ID and your SS#, and get your check the same way, minus taxes or anything you may owe to the state

                    Twin Peaks*"We are like the dreamer, who dreams, and then lives inside the dream. But, who is the dreamer?"*Twin Peaks

                      Bluegal1's avatar - Lottery-009.jpg
                      Queens NY
                      United States
                      Member #141852
                      April 25, 2013
                      202 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: July 9, 2019, 9:20 pm - IP Logged

                      I Agree! with you Concord.  When you do not tell anyone your good news than they will not know. 

                       Keep quiet. Go slow. 

                       Some winners need to claim immediately because they are living pay check to pay check. Try to slow down as much as possible.

                       Learn how to say NO.

                      Couldn't agree with you more! The less people you tell, the less problems you have.  Get a lawyer, create a trust account, claim the prize in the trust name, and no one is the wiser unless you decide to spill the beans yourself.

                      Twin Peaks*"We are like the dreamer, who dreams, and then lives inside the dream. But, who is the dreamer?"*Twin Peaks

                        Avatar
                        Simpsonville
                        United States
                        Member #163184
                        January 22, 2015
                        2233 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: July 10, 2019, 8:07 am - IP Logged

                        Every time I won a prize over $600 but under $5000 they asked for my drivers license, SS card, filled out a claims form and a W-2G. I've cash in more than one state and each form asked if I owed back child support and any court awards. What is different about my experience is they paid me after I signed everything. Kentucky has cashing agents and in Ohio any retailer could validate and fill out the forms and then took them to a bank and collect. I cashed a ticket at a WVA casino/racetrack and was paid there too.

                        Never cashed in Florida, but it seems odd players go to lottery headquarters cash tickets under $5000 and have to wait until other state agencies clears them getting cash or a check.

                        Excellent point.   So a winner in Key West for instance has to travel way up to Tallahassee to cash in their ticket?  Inconvenient.

                        I missed something despite reading it twice...how much was her alleged winnings?

                         

                        KY does not play with non-payment for child support.   Off to jail you go.  My roommate, a former KY Parole Board Member fo 16 years never agreed with that policy.   Would say 'how can they pay if they're in prison?'   FL sounds like they need to get their computers talking to each other. 

                          rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                          Texas
                          United States
                          Member #55887
                          October 23, 2007
                          10219 Posts
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                          Posted: July 10, 2019, 8:27 am - IP Logged

                          The way I read it she won $1000.

                          She apparently was OVERPAID on her "daughter's child support case". The state said it tried to contact her by letter but since she moved around she never got their letter.

                          I wouldn't be too harsh on her as it sounds like she was struggling to make ends meet 30 years ago, and probably even now. I can remember struggling to make ends meet 30 years ago myself. At any rate, the state admits it made a mistake.

                          As far as getting a lawyer to create a trust, that's not realistic for a small win like that. It would probably cost more than she won.

                          CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

                          A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

                            Sorrento's avatar - scene sunovermountains.jpg
                            Florida
                            United States
                            Member #167023
                            June 22, 2015
                            36 Posts
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                            Posted: July 10, 2019, 1:27 pm - IP Logged

                            Wow! 30 years later and they still come for their money. That's pretty efficient. Bummer for her but she was paid more than she was entitled to.

                            Key West is overrated anyway. And overcrowded and overpriced.