CLEVELAND – A woman who claims she lost the winning Mega Millions (search) lottery ticket and is suing to block payment to the acknowledged winner said Wednesday she was charged previously with credit card fraud and assault.
When asked about past run-ins with the law, Elecia Battle (search) said she was charged but not convicted.
"I'm done with that," said Battle, 40. "I paid the fine. That's end of story. It makes me look like I'm a bad person. Everybody has bad in the past. I'm not even worried about that, really. I never did any jail time for that."
Battle said Wednesday that she was charged in the Cleveland suburb of South Euclid under her former married name, Elecia Dickson. She refused to discuss why or when she was charged. A call to the South Euclid police to try to confirm the charges was not immediately returned.
The Ohio Lottery on Tuesday declared Rebecca Jemison (search), 34, of South Euclid, the winner of the 11-state Dec. 30 drawing, qualifying her for a lump-sum payment of $67.2 million, after taxes.
Later Tuesday, Battle sued, asking a judge to block the lottery from paying Jemison.
Battle claimed in a police report that she dropped her purse as she left a convenience store after buying the ticket and only realized after the drawing that the ticket was missing.
"My ticket was lost. I do recall all the numbers. They are all somehow family related. No one can tell me what I did and did not play. I did it honestly and I have no doubt," Battle told The Associated Press at the office of her attorney, Sheldon Starke.
Authorities in South Euclid feel Jemison's winning ticket "obviously draws into question the integrity of Elecia Battle's report," said Lt. Kevin Nietert. Police are now investigating whether she lied in the police report -- a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days to six months in jail.
Jemison said Battle's claim prompted her to quit stalling and submit her ticket.
"I was angry at first, but not worried at all," Jemison said. "I knew what I possessed."
Dennis G. Kennedy, director of the Ohio Lottery, said the lottery was confident Jemison bought the ticket. She provided another lottery ticket bought at the same time and had a ticket from a previous drawing with the same numbers, Kennedy said.
The Ohio Lottery says the ticket is a bearer note, which means whoever turns in a valid ticket is legally entitled to the winnings.
Jemison, who handles telephone and doctor paging duties at a suburban hospital, said she was looking forward to buying a new home, taking a vacation and sharing her prize with her tight-knit family. She and her husband, Sam, have a 12-year-old daughter.
South Euclid is expecting its own windfall of about $1.4 million in taxes from the prize. The Cleveland suburb had been expecting a $1 million deficit for 2004, and Mayor Georgine Welo laid off 11 employees last week.