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Claim filed against Maine couple holding winning Powerball ticket

Pat and Erwin Wales may have to wait to spend their share of near-record jackpot until controversy over ticket is settled.
Pat and Erwin Wales may have to wait to spend their share of near-record jackpot until controversy over ticket is settled.  


PORTLAND, Maine (CNN) -- Four people filed a claim Wednesday against a Maine couple who hold a winning Powerball ticket worth a fourth of the recent $294.8 million jackpot.

A clerk at the Cumberland County Superior Court confirmed that a seven-page complaint had been filed against Pat and Erwin Wales, but she did not have details about the filing.

Nicole Joy, who worked with Pat Wales at Lincoln Financial Group in Portland, told The Associated Press that she and Pat Wales were in an office pool of 19 people who bought 190 tickets at a New Hampshire convenience store.

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At a news conference, Terrence Garmey, an attorney for the Waleses, disputed the suggestion that Pat Wales bought the winning ticket through an office pool. He said she had bought 20 tickets on her own, on top of what she had contributed to the pool.

"If she thought every dollar she would win would be split with 17 other people, why would she buy 20 extra tickets?" Garmey asked.

He also said the lawsuit was not the first reaction from Wales' co-workers when she explained the situation to them.

"She said, 'These are the 190 tickets I had in this envelope, and guess what, I won,'" said Garmey, adding that nobody challenged her.

"No, she came back so proud of the place she worked at, and so much, it was like, 'See, Terry, I told you we care about each other, we know each other, and they hugged me and they wished me well and they are so happy for me.'"

The controversy over the Waleses' ticket means Pat, 60, and Erwin, 70, may have to put aside their plans to travel and buy a new truck with their winnings.

There were four winning Powerball tickets for the drawing held last Saturday. Two of the other tickets were held by a Minnesota medical clerk and an unemployed ex-convict in Kentucky.

Those winners so far have chosen to take a lump sum payment of $41.5 million rather than collecting $2.9 million per year for the next 25 years.

The fourth winning ticket was sold in Delaware, where winners are allowed to remain anonymous.

Last weekend's jackpot was just shy of the $295.7 million won by a group of Ohio factory workers in 1998. It ranks as the third-largest lottery jackpot ever in the United States, behind the 1998 jackpot and $363 million Big Game prize won by two players in Illinois and Michigan last year.






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