Man sues for $340M after Powerball site shows wrong winning numbers

John Cheeks of Washington, D.C., is suing the Powerball lottery after a website error led him to believe he had won a massive $340 million jackpot, according to NPR. The issue began in January 2023 when Cheeks observed that the winning numbers listed on the DC Lottery website matched those of his ticket, which were based on his family's birthdates and other personal numbers.

However, Cheeks' celebration was cut short as his attempts to claim the prize were repeatedly rejected. The D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming informed him that the winning numbers had been incorrectly posted due to a mistake and were not the actual results from the televised draw.

The erroneous numbers, it turned out, were part of a quality assurance test conducted by Taoti Enterprises, a contractor involved with the lottery, and were mistakenly not removed for three days. Despite the lottery website's disclaimer stating it should not be considered the final authority on winning numbers, Cheeks is seeking $340 million in compensation, along with additional damages and interest, for the distress and confusion caused.

Richard W. Evans, Cheeks' attorney, told NPR that the lawsuit is an examination of "the integrity and accountability of lottery operations and the safeguards — or lack thereof — against the type of errors that Powerball and the DC Lottery admit occurred in this case." He said the lawsuit is not just about numbers on a website but also about "the reliability of institutions that promise life-changing opportunities while heavily profiting in the process."

"You know, we have to create fairness in the game. A win is a win," Cheeks told NPR. "I'm just a customer who bought those tickets. That's all."

A preliminary hearing is set for Friday.

See also: "I wish I'd torn that ticket up." Tales of lottery winners' regret