We had a winner in our hands, we thought. Wanted to take it to the store to check it. Purchased a NJL Instant $5.00 game nbr 540, Lifetime Riches $5,000 weekly for life, guaranteed $5,000,000 payout lifetime. We had never played that game before, only $3.00 Win for Life. Mostly played $2.00 games with constant small winnings.
Sis is left side paralyzed and almost blind in her left eye. Four years like this after a giant aneurysm burst in her brain during a clipping. I even had a mild TIA the same time she was getting readied for her surgery. Anyway, instant tickets are therapy for her. She handed me the Lifetime ticket that revealed one large colorful LIFE with $5,000 a week for life underneath. It looked like a wild number. She asked didn't we need three. Uncertain I said we should take the card down to the store. I couldn' read the small print and I needed to get her back to bed. so I laid the ticket down.
We had $2.00 game winners and losers on her bedside table. It was late and I had to get her Percocet and and nightly medications and get her ready for bed. She was in so much pain. Well, you guessed it. The ticket may have gone, unknowingly, into the wastebasket in a small opaque bag with her tissues, and then into the top of the trash at the curb for garbage night, still in that separate little bag.
You know the rest. Found. I did forget about the tickets. I'm up 24x7 and am my sister's left side. We have help 10 hrs a week from the County. We have exhausted a home equity loan for past private care. I am now 65; Marilyn is only 58. When I finally realized Ii had not checked the ticket, it was too late. Could not find it. Only thought was the wastebasket. When one does constant caregiving, times run together and keeping a painfree day is paramount
I looked on the NJL website I actually found pictures of the instant games. There were 3 remaining prizes still left by August 13. Aug 14, it went to 2. I had to take a magnifying glass to look at fine print. I had no glasses on when I had the live ticket in my hands, and sis and I both have cataracts. I even tried to find out where the local dump was, but weekends are messages only.
I was certain we did have a winner. I went into the local pharmacy August 12 or 13. The counter gal said they had a big winner recently come in and he didn't want anyone to know. I aked which game and she would not give me any detail, who, what instant game, etc. I got suspicious and found out they don't even sell that game there. Usually when you have a winner, for luck, you take the ticket back to the store as they get a cut, and post the validation in front of the computer. Lucky store, and people want to buy their tickets there.
I called NJ Lottery Monday and they directed me to Security. Validation said, there was a winninig ticket sold in Middlesex County the time frame I indicated, a validation at the pharmacy, but no one claimed the ticket at the Lottery yet. OK. I asked for an audit at the ticket issuing company. I knew the position of the remaining tickets on the roll. I knew the number in the upper left corner of the ticket. What the symbol looked like etc. I did not have the ticket in hand, NOR WAS IT SIGNED.
The audit proved everything I said matched. But, in the middle of my rquest for aqn investigation, someone actually got the ticket to the Lottery. That was Aug 18. The lottery called the validating store. They vouched for the person. He would never take someone's ticket.
I had a lawyer I knew call the Lottery Commission. Yes, there was a winner. He lived in Colonia not too far from me. They wouldn't tell the name, he wanted privacy. And then they said it was validated elsewhere. Aug 20, 2006. I received a letter from NJL Security closing out my file. They quoted Karafa v. NJ State Lottery, 129, NJ Super. 499, 502-03 (Ch. Div 199), can't be responsible for my lost ticket unsigned and ticket must be presented for payment. Why did they put me through a week's false hope?????????
They refused me the documentation that would have shown or disproven our claim.
The good part is I went to a local convenience store Aug 20, pm and purchased a second LifeTime Riches tkt. The word LIFE appeared below the numbers several time in the same font. Losers. The owner said they had a recent winner in the area but someone didn't want anyone to know who it was and it was not put into the computer. Something was wrong with the ticket.
I relayed my story and she said so I was the winner. Someone said the ticket had been lost and found. I had asked Security for the name of the winner. They refused and said they couldn't put it in the winners' circle. Now,it is going to be announced as a winner this week, weeks after the game was taken out of the computer as a winner. I was told maybe I did have a winning tiket but not from the place I said and this ticket was from July 2006. Well, Public Records said the second winner was from Essex County in Juy 2006, and the first was in 2005. I said I had the third winner for a short time. NJL also said the updates in the computer are not up to date. A lotto agent said they are updated every Monday Midnight and distributed to the agents on Tuesdays. Some serious lotto instant game players won't play a card if the big bucks are gone.
I called the County, a few people seemed to know what was going on as there was word someone had found something. It is the policy if it were a county empoyee to turn in anything of value and to see if anyone claims it first. Then no one knew anything. Sis and I even by word of mouth and to the Lottery Comm. offered to split the ticket if we had a rightful claim. That's a $2.500,000 tip. The things movies are made of. No, the finder wanted it all, now it is two winners saying they will split as two claimants, but not us.
I filed a Title 59 potential Tort against a Public Entity, but have no lawyer as I have only my word and my sister's word. I can't get supporting documents. I even tried to get the tape of the store to prove I was there at a certain period. No call backs from store security. It sounds like a wild story, doesn't it!
Then a third party was on the lookout for my certified letter to the State. I sent it by messenger service and the messenger advised me someone wanted to see what I was sending to the State, but said once the envelope were sealed it would take a court order to open it. Truth!!!!
My sister has spiking blood pressure. This has taken its toll, and she is on anxiety pills. There is no way we would go through a senario like this if we didn't have that ticket in hand. I am exhausted from trying to prove this. I don't have the time to take out of Sis' routine, but WE HAD THAT TICKET.
I have a good idea I know who found this ticket. They may newer faster cars. Sis could have gotten a new wheelchair and a car that would allow more of a handicap advantage than I drive. While they could join a better gym or a new country club, SIs could have had better physical therapy and a new leg brace and arm brace and we could have had better handicap living facilities and functioned easier in a handicap environment.
Those finders left her stranded. Is there anyone out there who can help us quickly?
Marilyn said she would rather be known in life as a good person who helped those when she could,instead of a lottery winner. No one knows what the disabled world is like, until that peson has been there. I can't take back time, but I could have helped her forward in an easier disabled world.
Lorraine and Marilyn