Hernando County woman receives $1,000 lottery prize after being told she’d have to forfeit the money

Better Call Behnken

Florida Lottery officials say they found the ticket six weeks after it was supposed to be delivered

RIDGE MANOR, Fla. (WFLA) – A Hernando County woman who was told she would have to forfeit her $1,000 lottery prize is thrilled that Florida Lottery officials say they’ve found her ticket, even though USPS tracking information shows it was never delivered.

Sue Burgess turned to Better Call Behnken after learning that the U.S. Postal Service failed to deliver her winning ticket to state lottery headquarters. As a result, lottery officials insisted they were not responsible for post office mistakes and that Burgess would not get her prize because the ticket was not delivered by the deadline, according to lotto rules.

The day after our Better Call Behnken report, Burgess says she received a call from a lottery official and was told that they had changed their minds and she would receive her check after all.

The money arrived the next day via FedEx and included several official lottery items, such as a pen and tote, to make it up to Burgess.

“I hit a brick wall and my wheels were spinning. I couldn’t get the information I wanted and that’s when I said ‘Better Call Behnken,'” Burgess said. “I am so glad I did.”

Here’s what went wrong in this situation:

Burgess won the Second Chance drawing on July 29. The lottery’s website listed her as a winner and she received a phone call letting her know. But because lotto offices were closed due to the pandemic, Burgess mailed her ticket via certified mail to lottery headquarters in Tallahassee.

Lottery rules require Second Chance winners to submit their ticket within seven days of being notified that they won. The only other way Burgess could have submitted her ticket is through a drop box at a local lottery office, but she thought certified mail would be the safest and quickest option to get the ticket to Tallahassee.

The package never showed up, lottery officials told Burgess, and tracking information on the postal service website still shows that the package is at the Tallahassee post office and was never delivered. According to the postal service website, the package has been at the Tallahassee post office for six weeks.

A lottery official told Better Call Behnken they don’t know why it took so long to find the ticket in their mail deliveries or why the post office tracking information isn’t correct.

Burgess is just happy to have her $1,000 prize. It came just in time because she needs to buy new tires for her car.

“If anybody else runs into a situation, call this lady because she is going to get the job done,” Burgess said.

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