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California Lotto winner says she accidentally gave stranger her second winning ticket

 

A California woman’s generosity may have cost her $260,000, without her knowing it.

Emily Leach, a nurse at a veterans affairs hospital in Palo Alto who is still celebrating a $1 million Lotto win earlier this year, says she inadvertently handed a stranger her second winning Lotto ticket, The Mercury News reported.

She says last Friday she handed $100 bill to a man standing behind her on line at Liquor & Tobacco, a convenience store in Mountain View, Calif., the paper reported. But she told the paper that she accidentally mixed up a winning $260,000 lottery ticket with the money that she handed a man who appeared to be struggling financially.

The unidentified man reportedly returned to the store to say he had the ticket, and some of Leach’s good fortune may have rubbed off on him after she bought him the winning ticket. Leach denies that account.

"That’s my ticket," Leach, a pancreatic cancer survivor who once owed $300,000 in medical bills, told the paper. "He knows it's my ticket. I feel like I'm going to come off as a huge, huge bitch if I say, 'You need to give me my ticket back.'"

The ticket holder has not come forward and Lotto officials are investigating the matter, the paper reported. Store surveillance video may be a helpful tool, the report said.

"They're going to look at the video and see if she's the one actually buying the ticket. If no one else is in the picture, that puts things firmly in her favor," Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the lottery commission told the paper.