Emily Leach, a California woman who won a million-dollar lottery in January, has claimed she hit another jackpot of $260,000 last week but accidently gave away the ticket to a homeless man.
Leach told San Jose Mercury News that she bought the winning Scratcher ticket from the same Liquor & Tobacco in Mountain View, California, where she bought the $1-million ticket in January.
Leach told the lottery officials that she was just helping the man who was begging for money at the store, ABC News reported. She wanted to give the man a $100 bill but accidently handed him the winning lottery ticket.
However, officials have not identified the man who has the ticket.
“I did nothing but help this man. I was trying to give him what he was asking for,” Leach told ABC News.
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California Lottery Spokesman, Russ Lopez, told ABC News they are investigating Leach’s claim and they are also reviewing the CCTV footage.
“At this point we would not make a judgment as to who owns the ticket. The ticket has not been claimed yet. Once the ticket has been claimed then we can say a little bit more,” Lopez said.
When Lopez checked the CCTV footage from the store it appeared that Leach is giving away the tickets she bought in the store. “We are trying to collect all the information before making any decision on who actually owns the ticket,” he added.
“The video shows this woman buying a lot of tickets and then giving them away,” he told ABC News. ”The video doesn’t lie.”
Leach became a local celebrity after winning the $1-million lottery in January and has since done some random acts of kindness around the community. According to her, buying tickets and then giving it unintentionally to the man was not unusual, but winning the jackpot again certainly was.
“The chances any one person could have won the $1 million lottery last January were 1 in 1.2 million, and the chances of winning on the scratch-off last Friday were even steeper — 1 in 3.9 million,” Lopez said.