Man wins half a million on the Lottery - but is told it's a mistake

Sarah Coles
John Wines
John Wines

John Wines, of Roswell in New Mexico, thought he had won a life-changing $500,000 after buying a scratchcard last month. He scratched the foil off and saw he had won the top prize - twice on one card. He dashed back to the store to claim his prizes, but when the cashier ran the ticket through the machine, he said there'd been a mistake - he hadn't won anything.

Time Magazine reported that Wines contacted the New Mexico Lottery officials who confirmed the shocking news that he hadn't won anything: there was just a misprint on the ticket. It pointed out that the maximum payout on the game was $250,000, and his card had given him two $250,000 prizes, which wasn't possible. Some of the winning numbers were also obscured. The mistakes on the card meant the game was void.

The Mirror revealed that he received a low-key response from the lottery, which simply said the mistake had been reported to the printer, and offered him $100 worth of scratch cards. Wines was distraught, but the lottery is acting within its own rules, so despite the fact it seems desperately unfair, it's unlikely that Wines will receive his full payout.
It could be worse
But while he may he lamenting his horrible situation, he could perhaps take some comfort that things could be worse. We reveal five lottery winners whose stories make his seem like good news.

There are those who have lost it all - and more. Lee Ryan was one of Britain's first lottery winners - picking up £6.5 million in 1995. Unfortunately, he was jailed weeks after his win for handling stolen cars, and on his release spent the lot on living the high life. By 2010 he had nothing and was living on the streets, and it was only in 2012 that he started to rebuild his life.

There were those who made unfortunate decisions, including John McGuiness, a former hospital porter, who won £10 million on the National Lottery in 1997. He invested £4 million of it in Livingstone Football Club, and when the club ran into difficulties it took loans out in his name - leaving him owing £2 million by 2008.

There were those who never got to enjoy their winnings. Martyn and Kay Tott from Watford heard an appeal for a £3 million missing ticket in 2001, and recognised that the numbers were theirs, but after turning their home upside down they still couldn't find the ticket. They were able to give Camelot the exact date and time they bought the ticket, and the place where they bought it. They also showed proof they had selected the same numbers for both weekly draws for five weeks, but the legal team said they still couldn't pay the couple. They tried several times to sue the lottery and eventually split up.

And there are those who see even more horrible conclusions to their win. Chicago dry cleaner Urooj Khan won $1 million on a scratchcard in May 2012, but died unexpectedly two months later (the day after he collected his prize). It later emerged that he had been the victim of cyanide poisoning, although his murderer was never found.

Jeffrey Dampier, meanwhile, won $20 million on the Illinois lottery in 1996. He spent a huge amount of money on friends and family, but nine years later, was kidnapped by his sister-in-law and murdered.

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