Lost in the mail: US Postal Service ‘misplaces’ woman’s winning lotto ticket

Florida winner forced to forfeit cash prize after the embattled US Postal Service loses her ticket.

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US Postal Service

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Postal ballots aren’t the only thing going missing in the mail.

A woman said she lost her cash prize from a lottery after the US Postal Service lost her winning ticket.

Sue Burgess, of Hernando County in Florida, said she found out last month that she had won $1,000 in the state’s Second Chance Lottery game, according to a report from news station WFLA.

“I was elated. It was like winning a million dollars to me,” Burgess told the outlet.

However, she was not able to pick up her cash at any of the local lottery offices since they were closed because of coronavirus restrictions.

Burgess dutifully followed the state lottery’s instructions and went to the post office to send in her ticket via certified mail, WFLA reported.

However she said the ticket never made it to the lottery office in the one-week time frame required to claim the prize.

Tracking information Burgess was given by the USPS last showed the ticket in transit on Aug. 12 at a Tallahassee post office.

“They said, ‘We have not received this ticket.’ They said, ‘No ticket, no prize,’” said Burgess, whose prize money went to an alternate winner.

Burgess said she’s frustrated because she could’ve left her ticket in a dropbox at a local lottery office, but she believed that certified mail was the safer and more efficient option.

“That’s why you choose certified mail,” Burgess said. “With COVID, I understand the mail is a little bit slow. But for safety sake, certified mail usually has priority.”

Six weeks later, the winning ticket is still unaccounted for.

“Ms. Burgess’ situation is an unusual circumstance and, to our knowledge, no other winner has experienced a similar issue,” the lottery said.

“Because the Lottery did not receive Ms. Burgess’ ticket within the seven-day claim period, an alternate winner was selected and paid. However, if Ms. Burgess’ package arrives at Florida Lottery Headquarters with a date stamp prior to the original expiration date, our Claims Processing department will process and pay her claim.”

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