Baltimore, MD--Mega Millions Lottery officials have called upon expert lottery fraud investigators to analyze one of the winning tickets (pictured above) from yesterday's record $640 million jackpot prize. Winning tickets were sold in Illinois, Maryland and Kansas, and the authenticity of one of these tickets--officials are not saying which one--is being seriously questioned.
"It looks like notebook paper to me," said Mega Millions official Jeff Constantine, when asked what made the multi-state lottery take a second, third, fourth and fifth look at one of the three winning tickets. "I can't say definitively until we get the notebook paper official test back. Also, Mega Millions is not a hyphenated word, but that could have been a printing error on our part."
Another lottery official commented: "The numbers almost look handwritten, but there's also a chance that they are not handwritten. What stood out to me was that one of the numbers is crossed out. There is something very odd about that. However, it is crossed out so well that it could just be a computer glitch."
Some officials are embarrassingly impressed by the craftsmanship of the ticket. "If it is fake it's one of the best forgeries that I have ever seen," said Gail Leopold, an independent lottery fraud consultant with Cooper-Sinclair. "At the top it has 'Official Ticket', which, to me, means it's an official ticket. Plus, all of the numbers are correct. It's going to be very difficult to deny this winner a claim to over $200 million."
A decision to split the winnings two ways or three ways should be made by Monday.