BY CHERYL CHAN, THE PROVINCE/special to the Langley Advance
A new twist has emerged in the $50-million lottery jackpot that had gone unawarded for almost two years.
Much mystery and speculation had swirled around the Lotto Max jackpot drawn on March 14, 2014, until last week, when the winnings were finally paid out by the B.C. Lottery Corporation to Langley resident Friedrich Mayrhofer and his family.
But now a new claimant has stepped up, alleging he is the rightful winner of the $50-million prize.
In a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court Monday, George Wilson-Tagoe alleged “that certain unknown employees of BCLC and their cohorts conspired to steal my winning Lotto Max ticket worth $50 million plus 21 months interest.”
Wilson-Tagoe, a retired accountant, said he purchased the ticket at an Esso gas station on 202nd Street and 88th Avenue in Langley on March 11, 2014, using seven numbers he had played regularly for years.
He said he noticed an “unusual string” of numbers — 3, 4, 5, and 7 — among the computerized quick picks on the second or third lines, but lost the ticket soon after, possibly accidentally throwing it in the trash.
After the winning numbers were drawn, Wilson-Tagoe called BCLC to explain the situation. He was told days later his ticket was not a winner.
Wilson-Tagoe was suspicious and hopeful — he even quit his accounting job and de-registered as a public accountant — a “stupid move” in hindsight, he said in the claim.
He is seeking the $50-million prize plus interest.
BCLC said it will be filing a defence against the allegations. Spokeswoman Angela Koulyras said the lottery corporation received 739 inquiries regarding this ticket and reviewed each one.
The BCLC has conducted a thorough prize claim verification process and has delivered the prize to the “rightful ticket owners,” she said.
The winning ticket had numbers 3, 4, 5, 7, 31, 33, 40 and a bonus of 49.
It was sold at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Murrayville, BCLC said.
The prize was claimed five days before the ticket expiry by a lawyer representing a trust with unknown beneficiaries.
After the BCLC insisted prizes can only be awarded to an individual or group and not a trust or corporation, the publicity-shy Mayrhofers came forward in November to claim the massive winnings.
This isn’t the first lawsuit launched over the $50-million jackpot.
A Shoppers Drug Mart worker had filed a civil suit against a co-worker, alleging he hid the winning ticket she said was purchased with workplace pool money.
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