Do You Know This Mysterious Man Who May Be A Lottery Winner?

The Hot Lotto is a Powerball game that’s available to lottery fans in fourteen states and the District of Columbia. Somebody won $14.3 million in Iowa in December 2010, but here’s the problem: nobody knows who. A mysterious company based in Belize tried to claim the ticket, but the original ticket purchaser has to claim the cash. He never has.

Lottery winners have one year to come forward and claim their prizes. Shortly before the deadline, a lawyer in New York representing a corporation in Belize tried to claim the prize, but the ticket was bought in Iowa, where the lottery won’t hand over winnings unless the ticket holder or ticket holders are identified. The state wouldn’t turn over their winnings to charity as requested, either: the money went back to the states that are part of Hot Lotto.

State authorities suspect some kind of fraud in this situation, though it isn’t clear exactly what kind of fraud that would be or how it works.

After investigating this case for years, Authorities recently released surveillance camera footage of the man who bought the winning ticket (and two hot dogs) to find out whether anyone recognizes him. His face is obscured by a hat and a hood: he may have been trying to avoid being recognizable on the camera, or it may be that he was in the Midwest in December and was trying to keep his ears warm.

Why are they turning to the public for help now? There’s a three-year statute of limitations on fraud in Iowa, and the end of this year will mark three years since the trust tried to claim the lottery prize. Investigators have no idea whether the man was part of the scheme (if there even was a scheme) or whether he may be the victim of a crime. He could be from Iowa, but the store where he bought the ticket is near the interstate, so he could be a traveler or a truck driver.

If you recognize the man in the video, or if you know anything else about this case, Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation would like to hear from you.

Investigators need help finding lottery ticket purchaser [Des Moines Register] (Warning: auto-play video!)

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