Louisiana State Lottery ticket from 1888. Front and back of "Tenth Class" ticket (eg, 1/10th of a dollar or 10 cents) for the drawing of May 8, 1889. Engraving on back of ticket includes signature of P.G.T. Beauregard. Stamp on back indicates it was sold by an agent in Boston. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)An Arkansas woman who cashed a $1 million lottery ticket may have to give up the winnings to a woman who threw away the ticket after she bought it, according to a judge's ruling Tuesday.
The judge decided that Sharon Duncan was entitled to the prize money, not Sharon Jones, who claimed the prize money after she took the ticket from a trash can of discarded lottery tickets at a convenience store in Beebe, a city about 40 miles northeast of Little Rock.
Jones' attorney, James Simpson, said he plans to appeal. Jones had testified that she already spent some of the money on a new truck and cash gifts to her children.
Simpson noted that Duncan testified she threw away the ticket after the read-out on a ticket scanner said, "Sorry. Not a winner." The attorney argued that people shouldn't be allowed to throw items away and then say, "'ooh, I want to un-abandon it.'"
"We'd have garage-sale law all over the place," he said. "It became trash when someone threw it away."
White County judge Thomas Hughes, however, said Jones never met the burden of proof that Duncan abandoned her right to claim $1 million.
"The $1 million was never found money," Hughes said.
Earlier Tuesday, Jones testified that she gathered a handful of discarded tickets from the trash can — as she had done many times before — and said there was no sign alerting customers not to take tickets.