DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich issued the following statement Friday regarding the claim of the Hot Lotto jackpot after nearly a year:
"As we let everyone know yesterday, the winning ticket for the multi-million-dollar Hot Lotto jackpot won in December 2010 here in Iowa was presented to the lottery with less than two hours to spare before the prize-claim period would have expired. We shared those details we had at that time and will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks.
The Iowa Lottery now has been contacted by multiple individuals, all of whom individually allege that the winning ticket was stolen from them. We do not yet know the veracity of any of these claims, but this is just one of the details we will be seeking as we continue to investigate this prize claim. In these kinds of high-profile situations, rumors do occur, and it is our job to separate fact from fiction.
We have heard hundreds of stories so far from people who were worried that they might have had the winning ticket. But the fact is, only one of those stories can be true. The high-tech security behind a lottery ticket provides us with valuable tools to use in our security process.
This is the first time the lottery has experienced a situation like this in its 26-year history, and we will continue our work, understanding that the security and integrity of the Iowa Lottery and its games cannot be compromised.
We again want to emphasize that the jackpot prize has not been paid out -- and will not be paid out -- until the lottery has been able to complete the security process for this jackpot win.
The jackpot-winning ticket was presented to the lottery Thursday afternoon by a representative of a Des Moines law firm on behalf of a trust. We have now begun our investigation, but we have not yet had the opportunity to meet with the actual winners and ask the security questions we need to have answered regarding the ticket and its purchase.
The ticket was presented by Julie Johnson McLean of the Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts law firm in Des Moines on behalf of Hexam Investments Trust, with Crawford Shaw of Bedford, N.Y., as the trustee. Ms. Johnson McLean had the winning ticket validated at lottery headquarters in Des Moines, but no representative of the trust was present.
We worried for months that the jackpot would not be claimed, so we're glad that the winning ticket has been turned in. We look forward to learning the details we've all been wondering about these many months. Lottery players count on us so they can know that everyone has the same fair shot of winning in our games. We take that responsibility very seriously.
This has been -- and continues to be -- one of the biggest lottery mysteries in the country, and we know from the hundreds of contacts we've received that a lot of people are interested in this situation. We hope we can help put people's minds at ease by letting everyone know that we will continue our due diligence as part of this claim in the coming days. We look forward to paying the rightful owner."