Willis² Gets a Win

By Frank Heinz
|  Thursday, Feb 18, 2010  |  Updated 8:30 AM CDT
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Willis "Elated" By Judge's Decision

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On Tuesday, an Travis County judge awarded Willis² what was left of his stolen winnings, $395,000.

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Willis Willis Wins Big In Court Today

An Austin judge today awarded Willis Willis $395,000. The money was recovered from a frozen bank account belonging to the man accused of stealing the ticket from Willis.

Willis "Elated" By Judge's Decision

A judge has awarded a North Texas man who conned out of his winning lottery ticket some of the money from the cashed-in ticket.
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Willis Willis has once again won the lottery.

A Travis County judge awarded the curiously named Willis Willis $395,000 this week -- all of the money that officials have been able to recoup from the convenience store clerk that stole Willis' $1 million lotto prize.

In May, Willis -- or as he's become known around town, Willis² --  was duped into believing his winning ticket was worth only $2 by convenience store clerk Pankaj Joshi, who later cashed in the winning ticket as his own. Joshi made off with the ticket -- and the $1 million prize. He was indicted in September on one charge of claiming a lottery prize by fraud.

The Texas Lottery Commission in Austin filed charges against Joshi and froze an account with $395,000 that was believed to belong to him -- but essentially told Willis, "Tough luck," and didn't give him a dime of the money.

Willis has been fighting for his winnings ever since.

"Mr. Willis won a million dollars in the Texas Lottery and after taxes are taken out, that means he's entitled to receive $750,000," Willis' attorney, Randy Howry, said at a November hearing in front of the Lottery Commission. "We intend to fight for every dollar that is rightfully his."

The remainder of the prize money is being tracked, KXAN-TV in Austin reported. The district attorney's office discovered a transfer of an additional $290,000 to a bank account in Nepal and $30,000 Joshi passed to friends in Texas. It is working with the State Department to restore those funds as well.

If the State Department is able to recover the money transferred to Nepal and the money in Texas, the total amount seized would be $715,000 -- just a little short of what Willis would have received.

KXAN-TV's Jenny Hoff contributed to this report.


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