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East Alabama Man’s Fight to Lottery Earnings Still Going 5 Years Later

Alabama lottery fight (Source: WBRC)
Alabama lottery fight (Source: WBRC)(WBRC Fox6 News)
Updated: Oct. 23, 2018 at 11:33 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It’s a story that only comes about as often as million-dollar lottery winners do.

In 2013, Larry Payne, a retiree from Attalla was heading home from a trip when he makes a stop at a Georgia gas station.

“While he was there he says, ‘I’ll pull one pick quick lottery ticket.’ He did and put it under his sun visor and forgot about it,” says Jack Floyd, Payne’s attorney.

Floyd says about five months later, Payne's nephew borrows Payne’s truck when he finds the lottery ticket.

It was set to expire in a couple of weeks. The man called his uncle and Payne tells him to cash it in and see if it’s worth anything.

The clerk tells the nephew the ticket is worth more than 600-dollars, too much for the store to cash. So the nephew heads back to Alabama and is too excited to keep the news to himself.

“He told his boss he has a ticket worth over 600-dollars,” Floyd recounts.

Excited, the man’s boss takes a picture of the ticket, Floyd says.

The next day, the man goes to the Georgia Lottery Commission to get the money.

“While he was there he learned the ticket was a million-dollar ticket,” Floyd says.

But because the man did not have a bank account, he could not get the money that day.

So he heads back to Alabama and tells his boss the new amount of the ticket.

And she called the lottery commission and said it belonged to her--that he stole it from her desk. The case eventually went to court. A jury awarded victory to Larry Payne.

But Floyd says now, Payne’s nephew’s boss has appealed the case and the Georgia Supreme Court has yet to rule on it.

Floyd says there are a number of lessons to be learned here.

But the biggest, he says with a hint of a smile…

“If you don’t keep an eye on your ticket, you’re going to end up hiring a lawyer and that’s going to cost you part of your money.”

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