'Winning' Powerball Ticket Forger Gets a Year Probation

A man who created a "winning" Powerball ticket and planted it at work as a practical joke was sentenced to a year of probation for forgery and tampering with public records.

James A. Koons Jr., 38, also was fined $2,500 Tuesday and may have to pay the legal fees of the co-worker who was arrested after trying to redeem the ticket at Pennsylvania Lottery headquarters.

Koons' lawyer said his client meant to play a prank on co-workers when he left the bogus $853,000 ticket underneath a newspaper in his trucking company's break room in November 2005. Koons pleaded guilty.

"It was intended to get a reaction from someone, and then (Koons) would burst their bubble," said Koons' attorney, Stephen Ellwood. "In hindsight, it was a terrible joke."

Brian S. Miller, 35, was charged with unsworn falsification after telling investigators he purchased the ticket, which had in fact been created on Koons' home computer. A jury acquitted him in May.

Miller and Koons worked different shifts at Roadway Express in Carlisle and did not really know each other, Ellwood said. Koons, a dock worker, also created a second bogus ticket, but it apparently was discarded.

A judge will conduct a hearing to consider Miller's request to have Koons pay the $12,000 in legal bills he incurred