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Claimants at Odds Over Large Lottery Prize

April 26, 2002|From Reuters

TRENTON, N.J. — The mysterious New Jersey winner in last week's Big Game lottery has come forward to claim his share of the $331-million jackpot, but lottery officials said Thursday that a pool of office workers is also laying claim to the $59-million cash prize.

"Obviously it sounds utterly confusing and convoluted, which it is," said Tom Rosenberg, spokesman for the state Lottery Commission, which has launched an investigation to resolve the dispute.

Three winning tickets were sold for the April 16 drawing, including one in New Jersey. Erica Green, 20, has claimed the sole winning ticket sold in Georgia. The third winner in Illinois has not yet come forward.

Attorneys for the dueling parties in New Jersey, as yet unidentified, contacted lottery officials late Wednesday. The man's lawyer came in person and presented the winning ticket, which officials validated, Rosenberg said.

"It has been validated. The winning ticket has been presented. That is not in dispute," Rosenberg said.

The same afternoon, officials received a letter from a second attorney claiming that his clients in the office pool had also won.

The review "could take a day or a week," Rosenberg said. "Right now things are very murky. Things are very cloudy."

The winner's name will be revealed after the dispute is settled, Rosenberg said.

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