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DC Resident Asserts $340 Million Owed Due to Incorrectly Posted Powerball Numbers


An individual from Washington, DC, aged 60, believed he had suddenly become a multimillionaire, only to find himself having to fight in court to reclaim the $340 million fortune he claims Powerball unfairly withheld from him.

John Cheeks’ Powerball ticket from January 2023 showed a $340 million win. However, when he tried to claim the prize, he was rejected and advised to discard his jackpot, as per the complaint submitted in November 2023.

Cheeks’ lawsuit claims that he was denied his prize money because of alleged collusion involving Powerball, the Multi-State Lottery Association, and Taoti Enterprises, a digital advertising agency based in DC that runs the DC Lottery website.

The defendants failed to acknowledge the winning Powerball numbers that matched Cheeks’ lottery ticket, as stated in the lawsuit.

USA TODAY reached out to Powerball, the Multi-State Lottery Association, and Taoti Enterprises but did not receive a response.

“This is not just about numbers on a website; it’s about the reliability of institutions that offer life-changing opportunities, while making significant profits in the process,” Rick Evans, Cheeks’ attorney, stated to USA TODAY. “… We plan to ensure that every cent owed to (Cheeks) is collected to correct this injustice.”

Cheeks purchased the “winning ticket” on January 6, 2023, from a licensed retailer, as stated in the lawsuit. According to a statement given to USA TODAY, he selected the numbers on the ticket based on family birthdates.

Cheeks selected the numbers “07-15-23-32-40” along with a Powerball number of 2, according to the suit. “All the numbers that I have played are completely significant and related to me and my life,” he stated.

The drawing of the numbers took place on January 7, 2023, but Cheeks mentioned that he didn’t immediately check his ticket because he was feeling extremely tired after a meeting with his accountant that day.

Little did Cheeks know, the numbers he had on his ticket matched the winning numbers on the website that day.

After Cheeks checked the DC Lottery website the next morning, he discovered he had won the jackpot because his numbers matched the winning numbers, according to the lawsuit. Winning a Powerball jackpot is a rare occurrence, with odds of about 1 in 292.2 million.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes so I turned off my laptop, unplugged it, took it down, and started it up again,” Cheeks said. “Once more, the numbers aligned perfectly with my ticket.”

Even though Cheeks had potentially won millions, he remembered feeling more exhausted and numb than excited.

With a composed demeanor, Cheeks mentioned that he contacted a friend who advised him to capture a photo of the winning ticket as a precaution.

Cheeks decided to hold off on redeeming the ticket that day in order to meet with advisors beforehand, as he mentioned.

Altered Numbers Spark Lawsuit, Claimant Seeks $340 Million Payout Amid Website Mistake

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 07: In this photo illustration, tickets for the upcoming Powerball lottery are seen on November 07, 2022 in Washington, DC. The estimated Powerball jackpot for the November 7th drawing has increased to $1.9 billion, with an estimated lump sum payment of $929.1 million.

Over the next three days, the DC Lottery website displayed the winning numbers. As of January 10, 2023, the figures on the website had been altered and were no longer consistent with those displayed since January 7, as per the lawsuit.

At an administrative hearing on May 2, 2023, Taoti stated that it “accidentally” published Cheeks’ winning numbers on the DC Lottery website on January 7, according to the lawsuit. The company later mentioned that the “mistake” remained on the website until Jan. 9.

The discrepancy in the numbers posted on the D.C. Lottery sites led to Cheeks’ confusion when he compared his personal numbers with those at the licensed retailer and the Office of Lottery and Gaming claiming center in D.C., according to the lawsuit.

Another lottery update: Powerball numbers announced for the Feb. 17 draw with a jackpot exceeding $300 million

During his visit to the claim center, an official instructed Cheeks to discard the ticket in the trash and stated that they would not be compensating him for it.

“I gave the individual a glance and mentioned, ‘I believe I’ll hold onto this,'” Cheeks said. “He gazed in my direction, and I left the room.” It was quite an embarrassing day.

According to court documents, Brittany Bailey, the project manager at Taoti, stated that Cheeks’ actions are an attempt to take advantage of a clear mistake on the DC Lottery website.

Instead of sharing random numbers on a “test website” by Taoti, as planned, they were accidentally posted on the D.C. Lottery Website on Jan. 6, according to her. Cheeks mentioned that his Powerball ticket is currently stored in a safe deposit box.

If Cheeks is approved for the funds, he plans to establish a bank similar to Homestead and HomeTrust. This bank would cater to individuals who typically do not meet the requirements for a home loan.

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