Imagine holding what you believe to be a winning lottery ticket worth $1 million, only to find out that the ticket was printed in error and is worth nothing more than a good story to tell the local news.
That's what happened to Paul Pasquarosa of Boston, an unemployed father of two, who spent $10 on a lottery ticket the day before his birthday. (Hat tip to Time Newsfeed.)
Upon uncovering three red words on a scratch-off Cashword ticket, Pasquarosa believed he'd won the lottery's $1 million prize, according to CBS Boston.
“I’m looking at it; I have three red words. It says three red words wins a million dollars. I called my son and told him things were gonna be OK,” Pasquarosa told CBS Boston.
But Pasquarosa's joy was short-lived. When he showed the ticket to his lawyer, it was revealed that there was a "offset in the printing," according to CBS. Evidently, of the 20 million tickets printed, 2,200 of them were defective.
According to Time, lottery officials attempted to prevent the misprinted tickets from being sold. Pasquarosa's ticket was worth nothing.
This isn't the first time a misprint on a lottery ticket has caused a serious let-down.
Ann Marie Curcio sued the Florida Lottery for breach of contract after they dismissed her "winning" lottery ticket -- a ticket Curcio believed was worth $500,000, but was in fact printed in error, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The case has yet to go to trial, according to a local television station.
Pasquarosa's case might be exceptional, but stories of down-on-their-luck Americans playing the lottery in the hopes of a windfall are all too common. Financial hardship seems to have driven more lotto-ticket sales in recent years, as the job market has remained sluggish and wages have failed to rise for most workers.
That, in turn, has led critics to label the lottery a "regressive tax" -- a financial mechanism that tends to draw the most money out of the poorest people.
If you think you have a defective lottery ticket, it can be reported to the Lottery’s Claims/Legal Department, according to CBS.
WATCH: Misprinted Lottery Ticket Fools Paul Pasquarosa Into Thinking He Struck Gold
A South Carolina woman's luck stopped short after she told a few friends about her winning $500 ticket. Willie Jones, a friend of the winner, was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/south-carolina-stolen-lottery-ticket_n_1686630.html" target="_hplink">charged with stealing her ticket</a>.
After John Ross Jr. won a 'Set For Life' scratch off game, he was looking forward to turning his life around. However, Ross soon <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/john-ross-california-lott_n_1590089.html" target="_hplink">found himself behind bars</a> after he allegedly helped a woman hide and repair a stolen car.
Mirlande Wilson, a McDonald's employee in Baltimore, claimed she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/02/mirlande-wilson-maryland-mcdonalds-worker_n_1396943.html" target="_hplink">had won the record-high $656 million Mega Millions jackpot </a>and that she <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/what_mega_mess_wHA9HVdfxA1VDSqWn58KtJ" target="_hplink">was not going to share her winnings</a> with co-workers, who alleged that Wilson was a part of a workplace lottery pool. Wilson announced that she had <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/marlinde-wilson-mega-millions-winner-ticket-mcdonalds_n_1402892.html" target="_hplink">hid the winning ticket at a McDonald's</a> and subsequently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/mirlande-wilson-mega-millions-mcdonalds_n_1408105.html" target="_hplink">claimed to have lost the ticket</a>. In the end, it was revealed<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/maryland-mega-millions-winner_n_1414857.html" target="_hplink"> Wilson never even had the winning ticket</a>.
A group including MIT undergraduates and a biomedical researcher <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/massachusetts-cash-winfall-lottery_n_1729416.html" target="_hplink">discovered a loophole in the Cash WinFall game</a> that netted them nearly $48 million. Apparently, lottery officials knew about the scam since at least 2010, but did nothing about it because it generated $16 million in revenue for the state.
Retired hospice chaplain Ron Yurcus <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/15/ron-yurcus-glen-ellyn-lot_n_2139308.html">stumbled across a million-dollar miracle when he found a winning lottery ticket while cleaning out his desk</a> in November 2012. He had purchased the Powerball ticket from a BP gas station two months earlier.
After <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/mirlande-wilson-mega-millions-mcdonalds_n_1408105.html" target="_hplink">McDonald's employee Mirlande Wilson</a> falsely claimed she won Mega Millions' record $656 million jackpot, three <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/maryland-mega-millions-winner_n_1414857.html?ref=money#s785675&title=Undocumented_Immigrant_Awarded" target="_hplink">Maryland school teachers</a> stepped forward to claim their share of the prize.
Two brothers from central New York who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/andy-and-nayel-ashkar-lottery-scam_n_2123886.html">claimed a $5 million lottery ticket sold at their family's store were accused in November 2012 of scamming the winning ticket from a customer.</a> Andy Ashkar, 34, and Nayel Ashkar, 36, are charged with second-degree attempted grand larceny and fourth-degree conspiracy.
John Turner, a 38-year-old Chicago man, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/11/john-turner-wins-lottery-_n_2105194.html">bought a winning $100,000 lottery ticket </a>after coming to New Jersey to help clean up after Hurricane Sandy. Turner runs National Catastrophe Solutions of Chicago, a local water removal business.
A homeless man in Greenville, S.C. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/19/homeless-man-wins-lottery-greenville_n_1989771.html">won $200,000 from a scratch-off lottery game</a> in October 2012.
Nicholas Ruth, a 19-year-old cancer survivor, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/nicholas-ruth-teen-cancer-survivor-mega-millions-lottery-video_n_1916132.html">matched five of the six numbers in the state's Mega Millions lottery</a>, earning himself a second-tier prize of $250,000 in September 2012. After taxes, Ruth will have about $165,000 to spend and plans to donate some of his money back to the organizations that helped him with his leukemia.
Willie McPherson, 74, and Christopher Manzi, 44, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/06/mcpherson-manzi-mega-millions-lottery-25-years_n_1944181.html#slide=757174">won a $14 million jackpot in September 2012 </a>after playing the Mega Millions lottery together for 25 years, according to the New York Post. The two had been buying lottery tickets together after becoming friends while working at Manzi’s print shop in Manhattan.
A store clerk in England tried to turn in 77-year-old Maureen Holt's winning lottery ticket himself after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/lottery-ticket-stolen-from-great-grandmother_n_1733871.html" target="_hplink">telling her it was a losing ticket</a>.
Ryan Kitching, a Scottish teenager,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/04/ryan-kitching-teenage-winning-lottery-tickert-clean-room_n_1319413.html" target="_hplink"> found a winning lottery ticket hiding in his bedroom</a> after his mother told him to clean his room. The ticket is worth more than $80,000.
One Chicago couple won <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-06/news/ct-met-anonymous-lottery-20111106_1_lottery-winners-illinois-lottery-lottery-jackpot" target="_hplink">$30 million in the Illinois lottery</a>, but didn't even tell their kids, according to the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>.
Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson, who work at an asset management firm in Greenwich, one of the most affluent towns in America, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/254-million-jackpot-connecticut-money-managers_n_1119321.html">came forward as lottery winners in 2011</a>. Their lawyer said they formed a trust to manage the money after Davidson bought the $1 winning ticket at a Stamford gas station.
Amanda Clayton, 24-year-old from the Detroit-area,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/amanda-clayton-michigan-lottery-food-assistance-stamps_n_1330716.html" target="_blank"> continued collecting $200 in government food assistance</a> after she won a $1 million lotto prize.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/jose-antonio-cua-toc-undocumented-immigrant-lottery-ticket_n_1334564.html" target="_hplink">Jose Antonio Cua-Toc, a foreign national from Guatemala,</a> sued his former boss to reclaim his lotto money, which he had given to his employer out of fear of being exposed as an undocumented immigrant. Cua-Toc won the lawsuit.
The winner of an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/30/iowa-lottery-winner-last-minute_n_1176971.html">Iowa Lottery ticket in 2011 </a>valued at $16.5 million waited until two hours before the deadline to claim the prize. The ticket was purchased nearly one year ago.
In 2011, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/03/winning-80k-lottery-ticke_n_947272.html">an anonymous donor stepped in to help a Georgia church that was burglarized with a winning $80,000</a> lottery ticket the Associated Press reports.