In January, 30-year-old Emily Leach won $1,000,000 on a scratch-off ticket she bought at a California Liquor & Tobacco store. She used the money to pay off medical bills she had incurred while receiving treatment for a pancreatic tumor. She bought her mom a dog. She exhibited the kind of exorbitant generosity normally reserved for cartoon billionaires and Mitt Romney, by handing out $100 bills to strangers.
That last bit is where she's run into trouble.
Last week, as per tradition, Emily headed down to the Liquor & Tobacco store that had treated her so kindly in the past and bought herself some more lottery tickets. Before she left, she handed a homeless man she met in line $100 ("I told him, ‘Don't buy any more beer. Do something good for yourself.'") and a scratch-off.
The scratch-off ended up being worth about $260,000.
The man returned to the liquor store the next day to tell employees some of Emily's good luck had rubbed off on him. The employees repeated the story to her the next time she came in, which is how she found out her ticket had been a winner.
Now Emily claims she only meant to hand over the cash (which, incidentally, probably would have been used to purchase the beer she had just told him not to purchase), not the ticket. But the millionaire is worried the homeless guy will think she's suuuuch a biiiiiitch if she asks for it back.
"That's my ticket. He knows it's my ticket. I feel like I'm going to come off as a huge, huge bitch if I say, 'You need to give me my ticket back."
But, of course, that's exactly what Emily is saying.
The California Lottery Commission, which is investigating Emily's claim, is not so sure it agrees with her version of events.
Spokesman Russ Lopez told ABC News it appears, from security footage, that her ticket hand off was intentional:
"The video shows this woman buying a lot of tickets and then giving them away. The video doesn't lie."
Despite that damning statement, Lopez says lottery officials have yet to definitively determine who is the rightful owner of the ticket. The current ticketholder has yet to step forward to claim his prize.
If it's any consolation, it probably won't be too long before Emily wins the lottery again anyway. Her January windfall of $1 million came hot on the heels of a December $5000 scratch-off win. (Just go ahead and assume Friday's record-setting $500 million prize is already hers.)
[Image via Shutterstock]