The claim on an estimated $14 million “Hot Lotto” jackpot has been withdrawn, but it may not be the final chapter in this bizarre story as state law enforcement agencies continue to investigate.
Iowa Lottery C.E.O. Terry Rich spoke with reporters this evening.
“From the beginning we knew this was a unique case and we set up, as we do with every lottery claim, certain security protocols in order to award the prizes and from the beginning we had not received the information that we had requested,” Rich said.
The New York attorney who signed his name on the winning ticket has said he was acting as a legal representative of an anonymous trust. Attorney Crawford Shaw told the Reuters News Service he “will not argue” anymore with Lottery officials who established a deadline of three o’clock Friday afternoon for revealing who had purchased the ticket. State law requires the names and addresses of Lottery winners be made public.
“It’s been one of the strangest lottery claims that we’ve had in the 26-year history of the Iowa Lottery and, really, as we talk to lotteries across the United States an unusual circumstance even with that,” Rich said tonight. “But I think this, for our chapter, brings to a close a very interesting and unique situation.”
The Iowa Attorney General’s office and the state Department of Criminal Investigation issued a written statement this evening, saying the two agencies “will continue their investigation” into the mystery of this winning ticket “in order to ensure the integrity of the Lottery and to determine whether those involved complied with state law.”
The winning ticket was purchased in December of 2010, but it wasn’t submitted to Lottery headquarters in Des Moines until late December of 2011, less than two hours before the deadline. The lottery’s CEO says the unclaimed jackpot will be put back into the pool for another prize.
“We love giving money away…but I’m sure not disappointed that the proper procedures worked in this case, that by following the routine that we do each and every day to verify this that it came to a conclusion that ultimately still gets the money back to winners and players who play lotteries across America,” Rich said.
Officials from the attorney general’s office and the D.C.I. have declined to comment further on their investigation.
The winning ticket was sent via FedEx to a Des Moines law firm and representatives of that firm submitted the ticket to lottery officials in late December. The Des Moines law firm issued a written statement indicating the winner or winners of the jackpot would have allowed the money to be given away to charities, but would insist on remaining anonymous.
AUDIO of Iowa Lottery news conference.