This man has been cheated of $5 million. And now he is suing the California Lottery Commission.
Ward Thomas sent his 16-year-old son to exchange a dozen winning scratcher tickets for five more tickets from a Mobil gas station on Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, in October.
After getting the tickets, the teenager went home and handed them to his father. When Thomas scratched the tickets and discovered he had won a lottery of $5 million, he must have been ecstatic. Within a few hours, the man got his ticket validated at a 7-Eleven and the following day, validated it again at the Santa Ana district office.
However, in a bizarre twist, two months later, the state and the commission “improperly refused to release the money to Thomas, claiming his 16-year-old son, who bought the tickets, was underage and not legally able to play.” The minimum age for lottery participants is 18.
Thomas filed a suit against the commission, which stating gas station, also named as the defendant, “falsely represented” that minors can purchase lottery tickets on behalf of someone else. It also says the store clerk did not ask for his son’s age.
“Nowhere inside the Mobil store was there any signage informing customers that they had to be 18 years of age in order to obtain California State Lottery Scratchers tickets,” the suit says.
Thomas alleges the state and the lottery commission failed to enforce their own regulations and neglected to train retailers about them. The suit accuses the gas station for breach of express and implied contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and negligence, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Thomas is now seeking more than $50,000 in general damages as well as specific damages for breach of contract and economic losses.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Brendan McDermid