Five months after he won a $1 million lottery jackpot, Willis Willis, 67, of Grand Prairie, Texas hasnít seen a dime. When or if he'll ever receive it isn't clear.
His lawyers, Randy Howry and Sean Breen of Howry Breen LLP in Austin, have asked the Texas Lottery Commission to pay Willis the money he won. Otherwise, they say it could boil down to suing the commission for the money.
video of brother crying the blues because its really his ticket.
Willis bought the winning Mega Millions Texas Lottery ticket in May 2009 at a convenience store in Grand Prairie. It's where he says he bought lottery tickets regularly over the previous five years.
When he went back a few days later to ask the clerk if his ticket was a winner, the clerk said it wasnít. Investigators say it was a winning ticket, but the clerk held onto it for himself.
Willis' attorneys say Pankaj Joshi, 25, took the ticket to the lottery office in Austin, claimed the prize for himself and took off with the winnings.
"For about a week or so, friends and my work were telling me that there was a guy looking for me from the Texas Gaming Commission," said Willis, "I thought they were just joking with me."
A grand jury recently indicted Joshi, but he hasnít been seen since he claimed the prize. Officials believe Joshi left the country and is hiding in his native Nepal.
Detectives have recovered some of the money, but none has gone to Willis.
Willis' attorneys say since Joshi was qualified to verify ticket wins for the lottery, it made him an agent for the commission. In a letter they sent to the Texas Lottery Commission this week, they claim the system is flawed, writing red flags should have gone off when an agent claimed a prize.
They requested a meeting with the commission for next week. Officials with the Lottery Commission are waiving a statement pending the potential litigation.
Willis says heís not bitter but would like his winnings. He says he would use the money to pay off bills and health expenses and make sure his daughter is well cared for.
Willis continues to play the lottery, but at a different convenience store.
They believe he is in Nepal now. Wouldn't you be?