The story really does play out like a movie script. An unemployed Austin man walks into a convenience store and tries to turn his luck around by purchasing a Mega Millions lottery ticket. When he returns to the same store two days later to check on the value of the numbers printed on the card before him, he is told by a clerk that the ticket is worth $2.00. The clerk knows, however, that the ticket holder actually is entitled to a $1 million prize ($750,006 after taxes) and so he submits the ticket as his own. After claiming the substantial prize, this clerk flees to his home country.
This amazing story is reality for Willis Willis, who handed over what he believed to be a $2.00 ticket to store clerk Pankaj Joshi. Mr. Joshi is believed to have returned to his home country of Nepal, where funds believed to be gained from the lottery have been frozen. As of now, just over $395,000 has been recovered from U.S. bank accounts and an additional $30,000 was returned to authorities by relatives of Mr. Joshi. Yesterrday, State District Judge Bob Perkins declared that all of the seized funds would be returned to Mr. Willis.
Meanwhile, authorities are searching for Joshi, as he is now considered a fugitive. He has been indicted in Travis County on a second-degree felony charge of fradulently claiming the jackpot.
If you have been accused of stealing lottery money that righfully belongs in the bank account of another person, you will need a criminal defense attorney. If you have been fired from your job after being falsely accused of stealing a scratch-off ticket, perhaps an employment lawyer is what you require. Either way, the attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. If you are in need of legal assistance, please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Posted by Tony R. Bertolino, Esq. at 10:25 PM