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Woman who said she won $20,000 Va. lottery prize could now face charges

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Posted at 7:20 PM, Sep 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 19:20:42-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ardella Newman thought she hit it big. On Aug. 22, Newman purchased a $2 scratch-off ticket that matched the number 16, making it worth $20,000.

“When I saw that $20,000, you don’t know how excited I was,” she told WJLA.

On Wednesday, lottery officials released the findings of their investigation and concluded that there were actually two different issues.

The case in question involved a game that Ms. Newman believed entitled her to a $20,000 prize. The investigation has concluded that Ms. Newman was actually trying to cash two separate tickets, the lower portion of one ticket and the top portion of another ticket. Based on the ticket codes we obtained from our ticket vendor, we have determined that the top ticket was not a winner, but the small piece of the bottom ticket would have been a $4.00 winning ticket if Ms. Newman had the entire ticket.

The lottery drew three conclusions:

  1. The tickets presented by Ms. Newman were valid tickets that were torn, apparently when they were dispensed from Lottery self-service machine.
  2. The claim made by Ms. Newman involved two tickets.  It would be a violation of the rules to award Ms. Newman a prize for mismatching parts of two tickets. The integrity of our games is our highest priority which is why we have rules that govern each game. It would be both unethical and unfair to all players to violate the rules for the benefit of one player.
  3. Had Ms. Newman returned the tickets to the store or to the Lottery unplayed, she would have received a full refund or replacement tickets.
Newman admitted to a Lottery investigator that she taped the two tickets together.

Newman admitted to a Lottery investigator that she taped the two tickets together.

There was a second case that the lottery said was not reported in the media and once again involved two tickets that Newman claimed to be worth a prize of $52.

It was clear to our customer service representative and our investigators that this too was an altered ticket where someone attempted to tape together two parts of separate tickets to claim a prize. Ms. Newman admitted to our Lottery investigator that she taped the two tickets together.

This is a clear violation of Lottery rules and in this case, the law, officials said and added that they are reviewing her case to see if any other actions are necessary.

This second claim of Ms. Newman’s involved altered non-winning tickets to make them appear to be winning tickets. The Virginia Lottery is still reviewing this case to determine if additional actions are necessary.

According to the law, Lottery officials said, her actions could be felonious.

Any person who forges, alters or fraudulently makes any lottery ticket or share with intent to present for payment or to transfer to another person to be presented for payment or knowingly presents for payment or transfers to another person to be presented for payment such forged, altered or fraudulently made counterfeit lottery ticket or share sold pursuant to this chapter is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

“I want the money that I thought I won,” Newman previously said. “If you look at the ticket, it says I won this money. It wasn’t anything that I did wrong. It’s what they did wrong.”