Lottery Officials to Answer to Willis Willis

Cheated winner to put commissioners’ feet to legal fire

By Bruce Felps
|  Friday, Aug 12, 2011  |  Updated 5:16 PM CDT
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Lottery Officials to Answer to Willis Willis

Willis Willis.

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Commentary
by Bruce Felps

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NBC, NBC 5, NBCDFW.com or its employees.

Willis Willis, the man who double-dipped into the name bowl and came up a loser in the Texas Lottery even though he’d won, recently received some validation from a Texas judge in his battle to recover the swindled winnings.

Willis and his attorneys with Howry Breen & Herman LLP are fighting the Texas Lottery Commission to recoup his $1 million winnings after a store clerk fraudulently stole (like any stealing isn’t fraudulent?) Willis’ winning ticket.

The suit also aims to drag answers out of lottery officials about how such theft and wrongful claims occur. Lottery commissioners tried to stonewall the answers, but the judge ordered the wall to come down.

Judge Tim Sulak of the 353rd District Court in Austin recently ruled that commissioners provide sworn testimony — under oath and presumably under law of perjury — on just how store clerk Pankaj Joshi pulled off, [cough] allegedly pulled off, the swindle and whether or not other clerks, technically agents of the lottery commission, perpetrated similar alleged crimes.

Score one for Willis. Well, another one. Earlier this year a court awarded him $395,000 of the $1 million he should have collected after it was recovered from Joshi’s account.

Next up: the remaining $605,000. That’s what we’re talking about, Willis.


Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He regularly buys Lotto tickets and wants to rest assured he loses fair and square, ‘cause he ain’t won yet.

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