Attorneys for Million-Dollar Lottery Winner Say Texas Lottery Should Do The Right Thing, Pay Winner Now

Winner has been waiting since May; store clerk already indicted for fraud

Oct 28, 2009, 15:38 ET from HowryBreen, LLP

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Even though it's been five months since 67-year-old Willis Willis of Grand Prairie, Texas, won $1 million in the Texas Lottery, he has yet to receive a single dime. Now, attorneys for Mr. Willis say the lottery needs to do the right thing: pay Mr. Willis his winnings.

Mr. Willis purchased the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket from a Lucky Mart convenience store in Grand Prairie on May 29, 2009. A longtime lottery player, Mr. Willis returned to the same store days later to confirm whether the numbers he selected were winners.

Willis handed his ticket to the clerk in the store, a lottery agent, to check it in the lottery machine to see if it was a winner. Investigators now say that the store clerk, 25-year-old Pankaj Joshi, stole the ticket and told Mr. Willis that he was not a winner. Mr. Joshi then traveled to Austin where he was somehow able to redeem the ticket without raising suspicions of Texas Lottery Commission officials. He has been indicted by a Travis County grand jury and is now believed to be in hiding in his homeland of Nepal.

"Millions of people just like Mr. Willis play the Texas Lottery with the assumption that the system has a foundation of integrity," says attorney Randy Howry of HowryBreen, LLP in Austin, who, along with attorney Sean Breen represents Mr. Willis. "It's time for the lottery to accept responsibility and restore everyone's faith."

Mr. Willis' attorneys have sent a letter to the Texas Lottery Commission and will meet with the commission's general counsel next week.

"We think the lottery should want to pay Mr. Willis his money without him having to take further action," Mr. Breen says. "He played the game fair and square and he won. If nothing else, integrity, responsibility and fair play say he should receive his million dollars. Certainly, if the Texas Lottery wants people to have confidence and continue playing, he should be paid."

Based in Austin, HowryBreen, LLP, is a trial law firm that represents businesses and individuals in civil litigation throughout Texas and across the country. More information is available at

For more information on the case involving Mr. Willis, please contact Mark Annick at 214-559-4630, (cell) 214-213-1754, or

SOURCE HowryBreen, LLP