Lottery winner who gave her $260,000 jackpot ticket



A two-time lottery winner who claimed a homeless man pressured her into giving him her winning $260,000 ticket will not get the money after an 'extensive investigation.'


Emily Leach, of Reno, Nevada, had already scooped a $1 million lottery win months earlier when she brought a second winning ticket, which she claims she accidentally handed to the homeless man with a $100 bill.

The not-so-lucky lottery winner claimed that the homeless man hounded her for help and ‘pressured’, ‘confused’ and ‘frustrated’ her into giving him the ticket.




Legal battle: Emily Leach has hired lawyers to fight California Lottery's decision to not award her the money

But a California Lottery spokesman confirmed to ABC News that surveillance footage from the convenience store shows Leach willingly giving a man her ticket.


The California Lottery confirmed that the money has already been handed to the beggar, who does not want to be identified.





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'We feel very confident that the person who claimed the ticket is the rightful owner of the ticket and that is not Emily Leach,' Russ Lopez, the California Lottery's deputy director of communications, told the network.


Now Leach has hired lawyers to fight the decision and claim the money back, saying she will not give up.



Under pressure: Emily Leach, of San Francisco, says luck struck twice after she won a $1million jackpot in January only to purchase another winning ticket this month


No advantage: Ms Leach said she was taken advantage by the beggar who she accidentally gave the ticket away to

The 31-year-old claims she has been plagued by problems since her win, including being evicted from her home and being terminated from her job.

Leach claimed the beggar approached her in a convenience store in March, revealed that he knew all about her previous win - which she used to pay off medical bills - and begged her to help him feed his children.

'This guy's still talking to me, and it turns into him crying and asking me for help. (He said) 'I know you don't owe me anything, but, I could really use the help. I've got kids to feed...I'm in a bad place. Do you think you could help me out?'' she told ABC News.

Leach explained that she gave him $100 – and the ‘accidental’ lottery ticket – to try and get rid of him pestering her as she claimed small winnings from other scratch cards.

'I'm thinking to myself, I really need to get this guy out of here... He obviously needs the help. Let me help him, and maybe he'll go. And then I can finish what I'm doing,' she said.


But the California Lottery said their 'extensive investigation' proved otherwise. 'There was no coercion,' Lopez said. 'It was an act of kindness that unfortunately got messy when the numbers were drawn.'


So close! Officials from the state lottery commission say it looks as though she gave it away in security footage - although a ruling has yet to be made

Leach, who underwent surgery for a pancreatic tumour in 2009, argued she had another reason for being ‘flustered’ - her doctor called with test results just as she was reaching into her wallet.

She has challenged the man to come forward to admit what really happened – that he ‘pressured’, ‘confused’ and ‘flustered’ her.


'You come forward and tell the truth about what happened that day in the store and I will let you decide what you want to do with the ticket,' she said.

Although she says she will let him keep the winnings if he comes forward, she is adamant of one thing – that ticket is rightfully hers.

It’s 'mine because I paid for it,'she told Abc news.

However a clerk at the store when the incident happened disputes Leach's version of events and said that she gave away the ticket intentionally.



No-so-lucky: Ms Leach said she purchased both tickets at this Liquor & Tobacco store in Mountain View, California














'If that's what he thinks ...you know all I know was what I did,' Leach said. 'I will be the first to admit I got flustered. I shouldn't have been doing so many things at once. But I was just trying to help the guy.'

The California Lottery Commission investigated her claim but said security footage revealed that Ms Leach gave the ticket away.


Lopez told the network: 'The video shows this woman buying a lot of tickets and then giving them away. The video doesn’t lie.'


Ms Leach became a local celebrity after winning the $1million jackpot in January; she has said she used the winning to pay off medical bills after she was hospitalised with a pancreatic tumour without health insurance in 2009. Mr Lopez told ABC the odds any one person could have won the $1million lottery last January were 1 in 1.2million, and the chances of winning on the scratch-off last Friday were a staggering 1 in 3.9million.