02/01/2013 11:36 am ET

Iowa Lottery Mystery Could Include Blackmail, Murder, Investigators Say

The mystery behind an unclaimed $14 million jackpot could very well include dark details, according to investigators.

Even though it is now too late to cash in on a winning ticket purchased in Iowa in 2010, investigators are still eagerly searching for its buyer to ensure he or she isn’t a victim, according to ABC News. Investigators have been intent on solving the case ever since it was complicated by New York attorney Crawford Shaw, who claimed the jackpot just hours before the deadline in 2011. He later abandoned his claim since he could not explain where he got the ticket.

Adding to the mystery, Shaw said he was a trustee claiming the jackpot on behalf of a corporation located in Belize. Investigators say they’re now pursuing a few leads before releasing a video of the ticket being purchased in a final bid to identify its buyer.

This case may be especially “strange,” as Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer called it, but things have a history of quickly getting weird when it comes to the lottery. Take the case of lottery winner Urooj Khan, whose body was exhumed last month when it was discovered he’d been poisoned shortly before claiming his winnings. (Questions remain over his family’s possible involvement in the case.)

More banal, however, is the fact that lottery tickets aren’t cashed in simply because buyers forget to check or don’t realize they’ve won. In 2011, $800 million in lottery winning weren’t collected, according to CNNMoney.



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