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Hair stylists pool money into winning $9.5 million lottery ticket, fight over winner

A group of Indianapolis hair stylists who pooled their money together to buy Indiana lottery tickets are now fighting over a $9.5 million winning ticket that a co-worker says she bought separately.

Seven women who work at Lou's Creative Styles salon in Indianapolis filed a restraining order to freeze the money during their court battle over the winning Hoosier Lotto ticket. The order landed at the Hoosier Lotto on Wednesday and the injunction prevents the lottery from paying the prize to anyone until the dispute is sorted out, said Al Larsen, a spokesman for the Hoosier Lotto.

Attorney Scott Montross told WTHR-TV his clients want "to slow down the train until we can figure things out." The stylists want to split the prize from last Saturday's drawing with a co-worker who bought tickets for an office pool as well as some for herself.

A Marion County judge will have to decide if that woman can prove she bought her winning ticket separately from the ones she purchased for the office pool.

So far, no one has come to the lottery office to claim the prize money, Larsen told The Associated Press on Friday. The lottery doesn't know the identity of the woman who purchased the ticket, and a person who answered the phone at the salon would say only that she no longer works there.

"At whatever point it is resolved, we will pay the prize to whoever presents that winning ticket to us," Larsen said.

Montross said he does not know how many total tickets his clients' co-worker purchased. He also said the group had a verbal agreement that the person buying tickets for the pool could not buy personal tickets at the same location.

"We are concerned that the winning ticket may have been purchased with the group's money," Montross told the Indianapolis Star. "There's a dispute about it, but until there is something more definitive, we were trying to keep a low profile."

The seven women who were part of the lotto pool told Montross they learned of the winning ticket from the co-worker who bought it.

"She said `You didn't win, but I did,"' Montross said.

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