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