A woman in Pennsylvania cannot keep a winning lottery ticket worth more than $4 million, a judge ruled, because of how she acquired the ticket.
The case came down to how the Acme store, where Beverlie Seltzer works just outside of Philadelphia, handles lottery tickets that are printed by mistake on the automated terminal put in place by the state’s Lottery Commission.
The judge noted the protocol is that the store must pay the commission for each mistake ticket, but the store can keep any winnings from those tickets.
In the trial court’s summary says Seltzer began scanning the mistake tickets during her shift, shortly after the Match 6 drawing. She typically would discard losing tickets and leave winning tickets for the office coordinator to process.
“As she scanned through them, she discovered that one of the mistake tickets was a winning ticket, in the amount of $4,150,000.00. At this point, after learning the ticket was a winner, [instead of leaving the ticket for the coordinator to process the next day,] [Ms.] Seltzer took $10.00 in cash out of her purse, rang up her own transaction, and put the $10.00 in the register in an attempt to purchase the ticket. She was still on the clock at the time,” the court summary reads.
Seltzer then reportedly told coworkers and her supervisor she won the lottery, “though claiming that she could not remember the time when she purchased the ticket.”
Acme supervisors learned what happened after reviewing security tapes. When she was confronted, Seltzer denied it and contacted the lottery to claim the reward. Acme filed suit to determine the owner of the ticket.
“When Ms. Seltzer in this instance deviated from the Acme procedures that she usually followed, she acted surreptitiously and was not forthcoming about the circumstances of the purchase,” the judge wrote. “Even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Ms. Seltzer, no reasonable fact-finder could conclude that Ms. Seltzer acted with the good faith belief that she was permitted by law or by Acme’s policies to give Acme $10 in exchange for $4,150,000. "
The Acme store will now be entitled to the $4.15 million winnings.