Illinois Lottery Halts Payouts To Big Winners But Continues To Sell Tickets, Lawsuit Filed

Illinois Lottery Halts Payouts To Big Winners But Continues To Sell Tickets, Lawsuit Filed

Two lottery winners filed a federal lawsuit against the Illinois State Lottery on Wednesday, after the state temporarily halted payouts to winners of prizes over $25,000.

The suspension of payouts came when the legislature and the governor failed to agree on a Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by Rhonda Rasche, who is awaiting a $50,000 payout, and Danny Chasteen, who won $250,000. They seek class-action status and the halt of ticket sales.

According to the Associated Press, the Illinois comptroller’s office said last month that without a budget for the July 1 fiscal year, there is no authority to write checks over $25,000 and payments would be delayed.

Rasche, who resides near Chicago and won her Illinois Lottery prize in July from a $3 scratch-off ticket told NPR she is livid.

“How the heck can they do this, and they’re still selling tickets? If I was the one selling raffle tickets and I didn’t pay, I would be sued or in jail or both.”

Rasche said she had made plans to spend some of her winnings on home improvements, new furniture and a vacation for her best friend and the friend’s sister who had nursed their mother during a terminal illness.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the lawsuit names Lottery Director B.R. Lane, the Illinois Lottery Control Board and Northstar Lottery Group as defendants.

The lawsuit also seeks to force the lottery to pay winners affected 5 percent interest and demands that administrative or operational costs go unpaid until the winners receive their prizes.

The lawsuit also alleges that dozens of other people are waiting to be paid more than $288 million in prizes.

Thomas Zimmerman Jr., Rasche’s attorney, said it is unconscionable that the state continues to sell tickets but will not pay out.

“The lottery represents that you can win instantly. They fail to tell you as of July 1 they’re not going to pay. But yet they continue to sell the tickets under those false pretenses.”

A spokesman for the lottery declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Zimmerman said other unpaid Illinois lottery winners have contacted attorneys in his office wanting to join the lawsuit and he expects to add them.

[Image via Twitter/Mashable]

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