GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas, June 1 (UPI) -- A Dallas-area man who allegedly had his $1 million lottery ticket stolen by a convenience store clerk is suing the Texas Lottery Commission for his winnings.
Lawyers for Grand Prairie retired maintenance man Willis Willis filed suit last week in state District Court in Travis County against the owner of the convenience store where Willis bought his ticket, the Lottery Commission and Gtech Corp, which runs the lottery, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The suit also names college student Panjaj Joshi who authorities allege in 2009 cashed in Willis' winning ticket at lottery headquarters in Austin and fled to his native Nepal.
Joshi was at the counter of the Lucky Food Store No. 2 in Grand Prairie when Willis came in. Joshi did not tell Willis he'd hit the big time and pocketed the ticket after Willis turned it over to him.
After taxes, Joshi took possession of $750,000, authorities said. A judge declared Willis the rightful owner of that money and Austin authorities recovered about $395,000 from Joshi's bank accounts, the newspaper said Tuesday.
Joshi was indicted on a felony charge of claiming a lottery ticket by fraud.
Willis' suit is asking for the rest of the jackpot along with other unspecified damages.
Willis' lawyers are waiting for a judicial ruling on whether they may question, under oath, lottery officials and others.
Representing the Lottery Commission in a short hearing in the case last year, Assistant Attorney General Gaston Broyles said a prize may not be paid twice, a lottery ticket is a "bearer instrument" and lottery officials are not responsible for lost or stolen tickets.
"Mr. Joshi was the bearer of that ticket," Broyles said.