Iowa Lotto Mystery Persists, Authorities Investigate Strange Lottery Claim

The Iowa lotto mystery involving a multi-million dollar winning scratch-off, an unusually shy winner and a strange claim history has captivated Iowans and caused widespread intrigue — but investigators are no closer to unraveling the questions that arose when the lucky ticket surfaced.

The Iowa lotto mystery began when a Hot Lotto ticket was purchased by a person or persons unknown, way back in December 2010 at a Des Moines gas station. It’s reasonably safe to assume whoever came up lucky that day didn’t desperately need the more than $14 million jackpot — whoever it was waited until literal minutes before the claim deadline passed, only to attempt to snag the prize through a lawyer.

It was then that the Iowa lotto mystery heated up — because under scrutiny, the lawyer who presented the ticket opted to withdraw the claim and walk away from the money rather than reveal the identity of the winner. And then everything went away because the claim was withdrawn?

Not exactly. Patrick Townsend, special-agent-in-charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, has been investigating the claim since — ostensibly because the idea someone would walk away from that amount of money rather than claim it legally seems implausible. And ambiguously, Fox News quotes Townsend as explaining (but not really explaining as such):

“I wish I could tell you it was solved. It is intriguing and has a lot of twists and turns… This is not a normal or typical case. It has some different aspects to it. We’ve definitely taken the time to look at a lot of those things and see where the leads take us.”

At this point in the investigation, the Iowa lotto mystery has prompted more questions than answers, it seems, and email and phone record subpoenas have been issued — but it is not clear who is being investigated, or what crime officials believe may have been committed in the course of the claim.

Townsend admits:

“We’re trying to link communication to some specific people who we think might be part of this… If we knew who bought the ticket, then we’d be a lot further down the road.”

Lotto Balls

Bedford, New York lawyer Crawford Shaw is the only person definitively and publicly linked with the bizarre Iowa lotto mystery, but he says that the story died with the failure to claim. In a brusque call, he stated before hanging up:

“I don’t think there’s anything more to tell… As far as I’m concerned, the thing is completed.”

Shaw was in actuality the representative for another lawyer, who was in turn a representative for the shadowy winner in the Iowa lotto mystery.