Feature Writer Romeo Edmead – Million Dollar Mix Up

If someone’s trash were really another person’s treasure, then Sharon Jones would not be facing such a quagmire. Ms. Jones, from Arkansas, found a winning lotto ticket and turned it in to collect a prize of one million dollars. Some of her new found fortune has already been dished out on gifts for herself and her children, but Ms. Jones may be headed back to a much more familiar tax bracket. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that since the ticket was recovered from the garbage, it had to be returned to the original owner.

Certainly, going through someone’s trash is a crime, but that is a far cry from what Ms. Jones is accused of doing. She simply went into a store and searched through a bin of discarded tickets, and found the winning ticket among the pile. The arbiter ruled that Sharon Duncan, the woman who originally purchased the ticket, should be the recipient of the large cash reward.

While examining the facts of the case, the judge may have considered that Ms. Duncan is really not at fault for getting rid of the ticket. She did turn it in to be scanned, and dumped it only after the machine snubbed it. Furthermore, during trial, a store manager testified that a sign displayed in the store does warn people not to take discarded tickets. On the other hand, Ms. Jones testified that she had taken many discarded tickets before, and was supported by a former store employee who said the sign was only posted after the incident.

The original law suit was filed by the store manager, and Ms. Duncan decided to join after a preliminary hearing. The attorney for Ms. Jones does plan to appeal the decision, so round two may be imminent. If Ms. Jones is lucky, and can prove the warning sign was never there before, they may just have to split the money after all. Otherwise, it’s better luck next time.

Source: http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-05-02/news/31543332_1_million-lottery-ticket-prize-money-lotto

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