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  • Writer's pictureVolume 82 Magazine

D.C. Politician Sues the Lottery for $340 Million Prize Money, After Powerball Said They Posted the Wrong Winning Numbers Online

John Cheeks. Photo/LinkedIn

A Washington D.C. man, John Cheeks, is suing the Powerball after the lottery refused to give him a $340 million prize for his winning numbers. The lottery claimed the numbers Mr. Cheeks saw on the site were part of a test that had been "mistakenly posted," and were not the actual winning numbers for the drawing in January 2023. 

Yet, Cheeks still wants the prize money. According to The New York TimesHe is suing several groups that run the Powerball in Washington, D.C., where he lives, for breach of contract, gross negligence, and the infliction of emotional distress, among other claims, for not giving him the grand prize, according to documents filed in a civil D.C. court. Mr. Cheeks has asked for $340 million in compensation, as well as damages and interest on the winnings. According to the company that operates the D.C. Lottery website, it accidentally posted Cheeks' winning numbers to the site, and they were only removed three days later, on Jan. 9, per CBS News. 

CBS reports the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case. Cheeks' attorney, Rick Evans, said the lawsuit "raises critical questions about the integrity and accountability of lottery operations and the safeguards—or lack thereof—against the type of errors that Powerball and the D.C. Lottery admit occurred in this case."

According to Essence, The issue arose when the set of seven numbers on his ticket did not match what was broadcast. Unfortunately, Cheeks only discovered this discrepancy when attempting to claim his prize, as none of the winning numbers were on his ticket. Despite days of the website showcasing the numbers found on Cheeks' ticket, the D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming Prize Center deemed his ticket worthless and advised him to throw it away. Cheeks said he was advised, "Hey, this ticket is no good. Just throw it in the trash can," remembered Cheeks of the employee's words. "And I gave him a stern look. I said, 'In the trash can?' 'Oh yeah, just throw it away. You're not gonna get paid. There's a trash can right there."

Mr. Cheeks is reportedly a politician. His LinkedIn account lists him as the founder of P.A.S.S., an independent Voter Protection and Government Safety Corporation. 

This story will be updated. 

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