John Wines retired recently, so he was thrilled when a scratch-off lottery ticket showed he had won $500,000—and more than a little disappointed when the New Mexico Lottery told him it was a misprint and refused to pay up. Scratching off a 1 on the $20 ticket means a $250,000 jackpot, but when the former air-conditioner repairman tried to claim $500,000 after getting two 1's, he was told a printing error had made a 12 and an 18 look like 1's, with only smudges remaining of the latter digits, KOB reports. Wines was offered $100 in lottery tickets instead.
Lottery officials say the mix-up was caused by a clogged ink dispenser at the printer, which was supposed to pull all the tickets affected but missed the one Wines bought. "I struggled all my life, but I never cheated anyone out of anything," the Roswell resident tells Fox. "And when I was in business, if I made a mistake, I paid for it. They just act like, 'So what?'" he says. "I didn't misprint it. I bought the ticket in the good faith that if I won, they would pay me." He says the experience has been pretty stressful, but he doesn't plan to sue. (Read more New Mexico stories.)