Lottery players sue after lag in drawing results caused them to throw away winning ticket

Two men are suing the state Lottery Commission after accidentally throwing away a $1 million winning ticket after a website mistake.

Two men are suing the state Lottery Commission

Two men are suing the state Lottery Commission after accidentally throwing away $1 million winning ticket after a website mistake. (Credit: News 12 New Jersey)

MAHWAH - Two men are suing the state Lottery Commission after accidentally throwing away a $1 million winning ticket after a website mistake.

Sal Cambria and his friend Erick Onyango say they constantly think about what could have been. In March 2013, Onyango bought three Powerball tickets at a Mahwah 7-Eleven.

Drawings are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays just before 11 p.m. Onyango says he checked the lottery website on his phone 10 or 15 minutes after 11 p.m.  He read the numbers out loud to Cambria, but they didn't match.

So thinking it was a losing ticket, Cambria crumpled it up, stuffed it into a cigarette pack and tossed it in the trash.

Two days later, a clerk at the store mentioned she had sold the winning ticket on her shift, and they checked the numbers again.

"So right away I'm ripping the garbage up," Cambria says. "But I knew he had already thrown the garbage out and they already picked it up."

Onyango says he had accidentally read the numbers from the previous drawing, because the lottery website they went to hadn't been updated.

"You trust that after 11, you wouldn't question the date," he says. "You would assume that even 7 or 10 minutes after 11, it is what it is because the drawing is at 11."

After waiting more than a year for their million-dollar prize to go unclaimed, the two have filed suit over the website error.  They say they know the serial number of the winning ticket, which they hope will help them eventually collect the money.

"Hopefully, if everything goes right, I'll just take care of my family and start a new life," Cambria says.

The Lottery Commission has declined to comment on the case, but referred to the disclaimer on the back of the ticket, which says it's not responsible for lost or stolen tickets.  

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

Man arrested in shooting involving Fetty Wap now 1 Man arrested in shooting involving Fetty Wap facing robbery charges
Funeral held today for Frank Gambatese, longest serving 2 Funeral held today for South Brunswick mayor Frank Gambatese
VIDEO: Chopper 12 above North Bergen fire 3 VIDEO: Chopper 12 above North Bergen fire
Basim Henry is one of four men accused 4 2nd day of deliberations for mall murder trial ends without verdict
The municipal court judge out of Fort Lee 5 Judge files official misconduct complaint against Gov. Christie

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

It's good to know you have Walt Kane Kane in Your Corner

It's good to know you have Walt Kane in your corner.

News 12 takes a look at the hottest Tech Check

Eric Landskroner has a look at the latest gadgets and biggest stories in tech.

News 12 On the Scene

Check out these exclusive videos from New Jersey celebs!

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE