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Florida woman gets lottery prize initially denied due to mail mix-up

Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A Florida woman who was initially denied a $1,000 lottery prize when her ticket was believed to be lost in the mail was finally awarded her winnings by lottery officials.

Sue Burgess of Ridge Manor, Hernando County, won a Second Chance drawing with what was initially a losing ticket July 29, and due to COVID-19 restrictions she was instructed to mail her ticket to Florida Lottery headquarters.

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Burgess sent the ticket via certified mail so she could track its trip to Tallahassee, but the tracking system said the ticket was in transit -- and it remained that way for weeks.

"I was horrified to find out that the lottery commission had never received my ticket," Burgess told the New York Post. "After I had to pick myself up off the floor, I learned the ticket was still in transit."

Lottery officials told her that the prize was being forfeited and given to a second-place winner because the ticket did not arrive at the office with a postmark proving it was mailed within seven days of her being notified that she had won.

Burgess turned to WFLA-TV for help, and lottery officials conducted an additional investigation and discovered the ticket was indeed in their possession. A lottery official told the TV station they did not know why the ticket's postal tracking information was incorrect or why it took so long to find the ticket.

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Burgess said a FedEx delivery arrived at her home this week with her check for $1,000.

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