Lottery Awards 101

Virginia Lottery officials say that there are no irregularities with a recent Berryville Food Lion million dollar lottery award.   Taxes have been paid on the prize and all procedures necessary for the award were met.

According to Virginia Lottery communications official John Haggerty, a lottery ticket is considered a “bearer instrument”. A “bearer instrument” generally means that whoever presents the ticket is the winner. The purchaser of the ticket and the presenter of the ticket do not have to be the same person.

Lottery winner Ali Mohammad Lonekashmiri (l) with Virginia Lottery Deputy Director Richard Williams - Photo courtesy Virginia Lottery

In the recent Berryville lottery award, the ticket was signed and presented by the same person. The ticket presenter was found to have followed all Virginia Lottery rules and was therefore awarded the prize.

Haggerty said that it is common for people to purchase lottery tickets and give them to others as presents or for various other reasons.

“It’s perfectly legal to give a ticket to someone else” Haggerty said.

According to Haggerty the Virginia Lottery maintains a security department that is charged with ensuring that all Lottery games and prizes are administered and awarded properly. The Virginia Lottery’s security department is staffed by peace officers that work closely with local authorities to investigate problems.

“We have had no legal challenge presented to our security department related to the Berryville award” Haggerty said.

In the case of the recent Berryville award the winner elected to receive a “lump sum” cash payment according to a statement released by the Virginia Lottery earlier this week. Haggerty confirmed that a lump sum payment was made and that 25% in federal taxes and 4% in Virginia taxes were deducted prior to payment to the recipient.

A rough estimate indicates that the Berryville award winner paid $40K in Virginia taxes and $250K in federal taxes.

Virginia’s taxpayers say “thanks” Mr. Lonekashmiri!