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1 million lotto ticket lawsuit: Winning ticket thrown away? 2 men sue for money

A $1 million lotto ticket lawsuit is unfolding this week as 2 men are now suing for the lottery prize money — even though the winning ticket was thrown away. A New Jersey man became a national sensation after the US public learned that he had won the coveted jackpot just last year. Now, however, two men are coming forward to say that they were holders of winning lotto tickets too, but that they tossed the small but vital bit of print evidence in the trash too soon, CBS Local reveals this Friday, June 27.

1 million lotto ticket now leading to major lawsuit
Wikimedia Creative Commons

Following the unfortunate decision, both men are now filing a joint lawsuit against the New Jersey Lottery system for the lost 1 million prize. The 2 individuals vying for the massive amount of money have been identified as Salvatore Cambria and Erick Onyango. Each hail from Rockland County, and are alleging that they too had a winning lottery ticket worth a million bucks in their hands, but made the unfortunate decision of having thrown them away after thinking it wasn't a victor.

“I was very upset — Mad, angry, hurt — everything. I’m like, this is my ticket out of here,” Cambria asserted in a recent statement.

According to the Christian Post this morning in this unfolding 1 million lotto ticket lawsuit, the pair of friends bought a total of three Powerball tickets together in late 2013 from a 7-Eleven in Mahwah, New Jersey. Onyango said that he took to the telephone to call about the winning numbers less than a half hour after the drawing had completed. At the time, however, he believed that they weren’t winners.

“I’m like this, this, this while he’s checking and, like, ‘Oh, no. It’s not the one,’” Onyango noted. His friend, feeling dejected, opted to throw the lottery tickets away. “I crumpled it up, put it inside of an empty cigarette pack, and put it in my garbage can,” added Cambria.

However, the jackpot players had made a fatal mistake. It was soon discovered by the 2 men that what they were actually hearing about was from a past Powerball drawing. Onyango soon learned that he had in fact bought just a few days prior one of the winning $1 million tickets and that his numbers matched. Yet the proof he needed to claim the prize money was long gone, thrown away somewhere in a garbage dump. The two are suing over this loss, saying they wouldn’t have tossed something so valuable had they known.

A worker at the New Jersey 7-11 is backing up the men’s story, saying that she was working the night she sold it to them, and that they had bought three separate tickets for the Powerball lotto. She remembers Onyango in particular.

“I remember that night he was in here and I sold it to him — three individual tickets on the Powerball,” the woman said.

It seems that the serial numbers on the other two lottery tickets themselves should be able to prove that they once possessed the winning ticket, argues the lawsuit. Cambria feels that they are thus entitled to the money because they can verify that they were once in possession of the lucky piece of paper before throwing it away.

“There’s two serial numbers per ticket — 89, 90. The third ticket is 93 and 94. So the middle ticket, 91 and 92, is gone. But we had it.”

Now, the 2 angry men are in the process of suing the New Jersey Lottery Commission. They assert in the lawsuit that they would have never actually thrown the prized $1 million lotto ticket in the trash had the winning numbers actually been posted properly online. No statement regarding the men’s claims or legal action against them has been made by the commission itself. Some lottery players are in support of the pair, but others think they are simply out of luck this time around.

“You threw away the lottery ticket. You’re not getting it,” one person said. “He should’ve confirmed the data before he threw the ticket out,” concluded another in a comment.

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