We read lots of stories about lotteries and lottery winners in the media, specifically stories about lucky winners or good news stories, but also tales of it all going wrong. However, every now and again there are the rather more mysterious and unusual stories which attract our eye. Here are our picks of the top most unusual lottery stories from around the world – not necessarily good, not necessarily bad, but just… odd.
The Mystery of the $14million Winner Who Withdrew
In December 2010, $14.3 million was won on the Hot Lotto game of the Iowa State Lottery in December 2010. However, despite a year long campaign by the Iowa Lottery to find the winner, they remained elusive – until two hours before the expiration deadline, which was 29th December 2011, when the winning ticket arrived by FedEx.
It had been sent by one Crawford Shaw, a lawyer who claimed to represent a group called the Hexham Trust, who allegedly owned the ticket. However, upon questioning by lottery officials, Shaw could not answer a single question about how the ticket had came into his possession, nor why it had taken them a year to come forward. Further complications were that the name “Hexham” had been misspelt by Shaw, and no company by that name existed. The ticket had been sent from a PO Box, and Shaw had no further knowledge of his alleged “clients”. Added to this came claims by others that the ticket had been stolen from them, claims which the lottery needed to have discredited by the rightful winners – if the mysterious Hexham Trust were the winners.
Lottery officials questioned Shaw further, who shed no further light on the subject. They gave him and Hexham Trust one month to come up with the answers – which at the last minute, the mystery ticket holder refused to answer, turned down the money and walked away.
Conman Millionaire Who Never Was
In 1997, a man named Howard Walmsley, 43, of Doncaster, South Yorkshire told his wife he had won £8.4 million on the UK Lottery. He then went on to do all the things lottery winners do – bought a big farmhouse, borrowed three top of the range Jaguar cars and arranged for solicitors, architects and banks to do his bidding. However, it was a total fib – he had not won so much as a tenner.
In September 2001, his lies caught up with him, and he admitted to 12 counts of fraud. He had claimed he did everything to try and save his business and his marriage, but alas, his sob story did not wash with the judge. He was jailed for three years for conning a total of £37,000 out of various garages, car firms and architects, and for writing cheques which would bounce and conning female friends out of thousands.
As for his wife? She stuck by him.
700 Tickets All Win
William Harvey of New Jersey, a self-employed construction worker, had a dream about his late mother which inspired him to play her birth date, which was 29th December on his favourite lottery game. The next day, he went out to buy his Win 4 ticket, which is a game by the New York Lottery which requires players to beat odds of 10,000 to 1 and match four numbers. However, William didn’t buy just one ticket – inspired by the dream, he went out and bought 700, and played the same number – 2912 – on each one. The top prize for each ticket was $5,000, and he won every single ticket!
William’s dream of his late mother helped him bag a total of $3.5 million that day. Spooky, or what?