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Cheque Your Trash

Last Updated: Monday 11th September 2006, 13:37 pm

Last October 83-year old Edward St John found a Massachusetts Hold’em Poker scratch card in some discarded trash from the White Hen, a convenience store. He regularly went through the shop’s trash, checking tickets that players had discarded - a few years previously he had found a winning $10,000 ticket.

This time hit hit pay-dirt with a Hold’em Poker card which happened to be a $1 million winner and he duly claimed his prize. However Kevin Donovan had actually bought this ticket, along with about 60 others (in fact the whole stock of these cards at the White Hen). He didn’t scratch off the windows, just the signal code saying if his cards were winners or losers, and he claimed that he’d accidentally discarded the winning ticket.

So, the case went to court, but sadly before the hearing Kevin Donovan died of a heart attack whilst on a weekend away, so his son filed the case on behalf of his father’s estate. Whilst the win was in dispute the Massachusetts State Lottery would not pay out, even though they had dismissed Donovan’s claim saying that a lottery ticket is a “bearer instrument” which means, if you have the ticket, you own the prize regardless of who bought it.

However the case has now been settled out of court with Edward St John agreeing to pay $140,000 to Mr Donovan’s estate, so that the winning money can be released and he can hopefully enjoy its fruits before he dies. He plans to share the money with an older brother and should receive $43,000 annually for the next 20 years.

Meanwhile a soldier stationed at Fort Knox nearly lost out on a big win when he cleaned his car out. All the rubbish from the car, including an old Kentucky Lottery ticket went into the trash can. But then something told him to check the discarded ticket and as a result he found he’d won, on 16 Aug 2006, and will take home a cheque for $552,000 after taxes.

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