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Cheated winner wants Texas lottery to pay him

/ Source: The Associated Press

A 67-year-old who claims he was defrauded out of a $1 million winning lottery ticket said he will sue the Texas Lottery Commission for the money unless it pays him.

Willis Willis "should not be forced to sue to collect his prize," his attorney, Sean Breen, wrote in a letter to the commission.

A former employee of the convenience store where Willis bought his lottery tickets, Pankaj Joshi, is of accused telling Willis that a $1 million Mega Millions ticket he bought in May was worth only $2 and cashing it in himself. Joshi disappeared, possibly back to his native Nepal, after the commission transferred about $750,000 to his bank account. He is charged with claiming a lottery prize by fraud.

About half the money has been recovered from U.S. banks. Prosecutor Patricia Robertson said some of it will be given to Willis.

"I hope to have it in my hands as soon as I can possibly get it," Willis said Tuesday.

Breen said he plans to meet with the lottery's general counsel next week.

A commission spokesman declined comment.

Willis said he had never doubted Joshi's honesty in the four years he had bought tickets from him at the Lucky Food Store.

"I never noticed anything," said Willis. "I was always treated with respect."