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Entries in Lottery Winner (11)

Friday
Mar012013

Confirmed: $1 Million Lottery Winner Was Poisoned with Cyanide

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock

(CHICAGO) -- The Cook County Coroner's office in Illinois confirmed at a press conference Friday that the lottery winner who mysteriously died in July was in fact the victim of cyanide poisoning.

Urooj Khan, 46, died on July 20 at his home in Chicago, one month after he was announced the winner of a million-dollar jackpot. Khan, who emigrated from India and owned a dry cleaning business, had opted for the $425,000 lump sum cash payment.

The medical examiner's office initially believed he had died of natural causes. It wasn't until after he was buried that his brother asked the office to conduct further tests. After examining fluid samples, the office found a lethal level of cyanide and Khan's death was declared a homicide.

Khan's body was exhumed on Jan. 18 and the autopsy exam was conducted that day.

Adding intrigue to the story is a legal battle among Khan's siblings and his widow over his assets. Custody over his teenage daughter from a previous marriage was given to his sister.

Last month, his widow, Shabana Ansari, and her attorney said they have documents that indicate a portion of his dry cleaning business should go to Ansari in the event of his death, which would give her two-thirds of his estimated $2 million estate.

On Friday, Dr. Stephen Cina, the Cook County medical examiner said the autopsy did not produce any new clues, but confirmed the initial test results after Khan's brother called with his concerns, ABC's WLS in Chicago reported.

His family members said he was healthy. Before he died, he enjoyed a celebratory meal with family members at home.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan182013

Poisoned Chicago Lottery Winner's Body Exhumed

Ann Cutting/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- The body of Urooj Khan, a lottery winner who was was poisoned with cyanide, was exhumed Friday from the Rose Hill Cemetery in Chicago at 8 a.m. ET.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office is trying to find more details about his death, such as whether the poison was inhaled, swallowed, or injected.

Khan, 46, was an immigrant from India who owned dry-cleaning businesses in Chicago.  He was announced the winner of a million-dollar lottery jackpot in June and chose to take the lump sum payout amounting to $425,000 after taxes.

When he died on July 20 in Chicago, the medical examiner's office believed he had died of natural causes.  It wasn't until after he was buried that a family member asked the office to conduct further tests.  After examining fluid samples, the office found a lethal level of cyanide and Khan's death was declared a homicide.

The medical examiner expects to finish the autopsy on Friday and will host a press conference at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Khan's family said they were suspicious after he died.

"He was a healthy guy, you know?" his nephew, Minhaj, told ABC News last week.  "He worked so hard.  He was always going about his business and, the thing is: After he won the lottery and the next day later he passes away -- it's awkward.  It raises some eyebrows."

Khan reportedly did not have a will.  With the investigation moving forward, his family is waging a legal fight against his widow, Shabana Ansari, 32, over more than $1 million, including his lottery winnings, as well as his business and real estate holdings.

Khan's brother filed a petition last week to a judge asking Citibank to release information about Khan's assets to "ultimately ensure" that [Khan's] minor daughter from a prior marriage "receives her proper share."

Ansari may have tried to cash the jackpot check after Khan's death, according to court documents, which also showed Khan's family is questioning if the couple was ever even legally married.

Ansari, Khan's second wife, who still works at the couple's dry cleaning business, has insisted they were married legally.

She has told reporters the night before her husband died, she cooked a traditional Indian meal for him and their family, including Khan's daughter and Ansari's father.  Not feeling well, Khan retired early, Ansari told the Chicago Sun-Times, falling asleep in a chair, waking up in agony, then collapsing in the middle of the night.  She said she called 911.

"It has been an incredibly hard time," she told ABC News last week.  "We went from being the happiest the day we got the check.  It was the best sleep I've had.  And then the next day, everything was gone."

"I am cooperating with the investigation," Ansari told ABC News.  "I want the truth to come out."

Ansari has not been named a suspect, but her attorney, Steven Kozicki, said investigators did question her for more than four hours last year.

"Absolutely, positively, you know, she had nothing to do with her husband's death," Kozicki said.

Despite the legal battle over the estate, Minhaj said the family "can't really point fingers or we can't really speculate until a further investigation is done."

"When they are exhuming his body, I really hope the truth does come out, and our family finds some peace and we get to the bottom of this," he said.  "Because everybody has to go one day, but the way that he died was not the way to go."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan122013

Poisoned Lottery Winner’s Family Knew Something Wasn't Right, Nephew Says

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Urooj Khan had just brought home his $425,000 lottery check when he unexpectedly died the following day. Now, certain members of Khan's family are speaking publicly about the mystery -- and his nephew told ABC News they knew something was not right.

"He was a healthy guy, you know?" said the nephew, Minhaj Khan said. "He worked so hard. He was always going about his business and, the thing is: After he won the lottery and the next day later he passes away -- it's awkward. It raises some eyebrows."

The medical examiner initially ruled Urooj Khan, 46, an immigrant from India who owned dry-cleaning businesses in Chicago, died July 20, 2012, of natural causes. But after a family member demanded more tests, authorities in November found a lethal amount of cyanide in his blood, turning the case into a homicide investigation.

"When we found out there was cyanide in his blood after the extensive toxicology reports, we had to believe that ... somebody had to kill him," Minhaj Khan said. "It had to happen, because where can you get cyanide?"

Authorities could be one step closer to learning what happened to Urooj Khan. A judge Friday approved an order to exhume his body at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago as early as Thursday to perform further tests.

Moments after the court hearing, Urooj Khan's sister, Meraj Khan, remembered her brother as the kind of person who would've shared his jackpot with anyone. Speaking at the Cook County Courthouse, she hoped the exhumation would help the investigation.

"It's very hard because I wanted my brother to rest in peace, but then we have to have justice served," she said, according to ABC News station WLS in Chicago. "So if that's what it takes for him to bring justice and peace, then that's what needs to be done."

Khan reportedly did not have a will. With the investigation moving forward, his family is waging a legal fight against his widow, Shabana Ansari, 32, over more than $1 million, including Urooj Khan's lottery winnings, as well as his business and real estate holdings.

Khan's brother filed a petition Wednesday to a judge asking Citibank to release information about Khan's assets to "ultimately ensure" that [Khan's] minor daughter from a prior marriage "receives her proper share."

Ansari may have tried to cash the jackpot check after Khan's death, according to court documents, which also showed Urooj Khan's family is questioning if the couple was ever even legally married.

Ansari, Urooj Khan's second wife, who still works at the couple's dry cleaning business, has insisted they were married legally.

She has told reporters the night before her husband died, she cooked a traditional Indian meal for him and their family, including Khan's daughter and Ansari's father. Not feeling well, Khan retired early, Ansari told the Chicago Sun-Times, falling asleep in a chair, waking up in agony, then collapsing in the middle of the night. She said she called 911.

"It has been an incredibly hard time," she told ABC News earlier this week. "We went from being the happiest the day we got the check. It was the best sleep I've had. And then the next day, everything was gone.

"I am cooperating with the investigation," Ansari told ABC News. "I want the truth to come out."

Ansari has not been named a suspect, but her attorney, Steven Kozicki, said investigators did question her for more than four hours.

"Absolutely, positively, you know, she had nothing to do with her husband's death," Kozicki said.

Despite the legal battle over the estate, Minhaj Khan said the family "can't really point fingers or we can't really speculate until a further investigation is done."

"When they are exhuming his body, I really hope the truth does come out, and our family finds some peace and we get to the bottom of this," he said. "Because everybody has to go one day, but the way that he died was not the way to go."

Urooj Khan won $1 million in a scratch-off Illinois Lottery game in June, though he elected to take the lump sum payout amounting to $425,000 after taxes. He said he planned to use the money to pay off his bills and mortgage, and make a contribution to St. Jude Children's Research Center.

Minhaj Khan remembered his uncle as that sort of giving person.

"He had a successful business, he was a great father, he was a great uncle to us and we knew him since the late '80s, since he came here [to the United States]," he said. "We lived with him. My kids used to play with him too, you know? I have two little girls. He was a really big family man and everybody loved him.

"He was the life of the party," he said, "always joking around, always joking with us and the family."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan092013

Wife of Poisoned Lotto Winner: 'I Want the Truth to Come Out'

Ann Cutting/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The wife of a $1 million Chicago lottery winner who died of cyanide poisoning told ABC News that she was shocked to learn the true cause of his death and is cooperating with an ongoing homicide investigation.

"I want the truth to come out in the investigation, the sooner the better," said Shabana Ansari, 32, the wife of Urooj Khan, 46.  "Who could be that person who hurt him?"

"It has been an incredibly hard time," she added.  "We went from being the happiest the day we got the check.  It was the best sleep I've had.  And then the next day, everything was gone."

Ansari, Khan's second wife, told the Chicago Sun-Times that she prepared what would be her husband's last meal the night before Khan died unexpectedly on July 20.  It was a traditional beef-curry dinner attended by the married couple and their family, including Khan's 17-year-old daughter from a prior marriage, Jasmeen, and Ansari's father.

Not feeling well, Khan retired early, Ansari told the paper, falling asleep in a chair, waking up in agony, then collapsing in the middle of the night.  She called 911.

Khan, an immigrant from India who owned three dry-cleaning businesses in Chicago, won $1 million in a scratch-off Illinois Lottery game in June and said he planned to use the money to pay off his bills and mortgage, and make a contribution to the St. Jude Children's Research Center.

"Him winning the lottery was just his luck," Ansari told ABC News.  "He had already worked hard to be a millionaire before it."

Khan's unexpected death the month after his lottery win raised the suspicions of the Cook County medical examiner.  There were no signs of foul play or trauma so the death initially was attributed to arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, which covers heart attacks, stroke or ruptured aneurysms.  The medical examiner based the conclusion on an external exam -- not an autopsy -- and toxicology reports that indicated no presence of drugs or carbon monoxide.

Khan was buried at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.

However, several days after a death certificate was issued, a family member requested that the medical examiner's office look further into Khan's death, Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina said.  The office did so by retesting fluid samples that had been taken from Khan's body, including tests for cyanide and strychnine.

When the final toxicology results came back in late November, they showed a lethal level of cyanide, which led to the homicide investigation, Cina said.  His office planned to exhume Khan's body within the next two weeks as part of the investigation.

Melissa Stratton, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department, confirmed it has been working closely with the medical examiner's office.  The police have not said whether or not they believe Khan's lottery winnings played a part in the homicide.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan082013

Body of Lotto Winner Who Died of Cyanide Poisoning to Be Exhumed

Ann Cutting/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- The body of the $1 million Chicago lottery winner who died of cyanide poisoning will be exhumed within the next two weeks, said Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina.

The exhumation is needed to complete the investigation into Urooj Khan's death, which the medical examiner ruled a homicide last November.

Last June, Khan, 46, won $1 million in a scratch-off Illinois Lottery game, and said he planned to use the money to pay off his bills and mortgage, and make a contribution to St. Jude Children's Research Center.

But Khan died unexpectedly on July 20. The suddenness and unexpectedness of Khan's death brought it to the attention of the Cook County medical examiner.

Because there were no signs of foul play or trauma, the medical examiner's office initially attributed the death to arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, which covers heart attacks, stroke or ruptured aneurysms. An external exam -- not an autopsy -- was performed and toxicology reports indicated no presence of drugs or carbon monoxide.

Khan was buried at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.

But several days after the death certificate was issued, a family member called and requested that the medical examiner's office look further into Khan's death, said Cina.

"In response to the family member's concern, the ME's office ordered comprehensive toxicological testing, including screens for cyanide and strychnine," according to a statement from the Office of the Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

"As a matter of routine, we take body fluid samples, even with our external exams: urine, blood and bitreous fluid from the eye. We keep them for a certain period of time," said Cina. "Tests for cyanide and strychnine were run on the blood samples after the relative expressed concern of foul play. These are not routine tests."

Cina said he could not disclose the identity of the family member or other details of the phone call because of the ongoing investigation.

"If or when this goes to court, it would be nice to have all the data possible," Cina said about the exhumation.

Cina said when the final toxicology results came back late last November, they showed a lethal level of cyanide, which led to the homicide investigation.

Melissa Stratton, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department, confirmed it had been working closely with the medical examiner's office.

Khan is survived by his wife, Shabana Ansari, 32, and a teenage daughter. The family owned three dry-cleaning businesses in Chicago.

Ansari told the Chicago Tribune that Khan was "the best husband on the entire planet," and "extraordinary, nice, kind and lovable."

Ansari could not be reached by ABC News for comment.

The police are not confirming whether Khan's lottery winnings played a part in the homicide.

When asked why cyanide, a chemical asphyxiant that binds to red blood cells and prevents the entry of oxygen, was not found in the initial examination of Khan's body, Cina said, "Quite frankly, it's unusual as a cause of death, so it's not at the top of your mind."

He said about 50 percent of people can smell cyanide, but it is more noticeable when the body is opened up.

Sometimes the coloring of blood changes with cyanide poisoning after death, becoming "more reddish than purple," he said.

"In this case that wasn't particularly striking," Cina said, describing the first examination of Khan's body.

"It strangles your red blood cells at a biochemical level," he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct192012

Massachusetts Man Dumped by Girlfriend Wins $30.5M Jackpot

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News(BOSTON) -- A 22-year-old man from Hyannis, Mass., had been down in the dumps since his girlfriend dumped him, but winning a $30.5 million Mega Millions jackpot is certainly perking up his spirits.

Sandeep Singh showed up at state lottery headquarters in Braintree Wednesday with his mother, sister and niece to claim his prize, which after taxes works out to be around $23 million, reports the Boston Globe.

At a lottery press conference, the lucky winner, who has worked two jobs to try to support his family ever since his father died, said of his love life, "I was heartbroken at first, but now I'm getting over it."

With some of the money, Singh says he'll pay off his mother's house and look into getting a degree from the University of Massachusetts -- which he previously couldn't afford.  He split a $61 million prize with another winner from Fresno, California.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug152012

Lottery Winner in Hiding Is Cautionary Tale to Powerball Hopefuls

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- As millions of hopeful Americans line up to buy winning Powerball lottery tickets for the $320 million prize today, one former Mega Millions winner who banked $190 million and then vanished from her small town and the public eye is still trying to come to terms with her winnings.

Holly Lahti won the $190 million Mega Millions jackpot in January 2011, a moment that most lottery players hope will be the happiest of their lives. Within days, however, a mug shot of Lahti sporting a black eye and bruises, along with a mug shot of her estranged husband, Joshua, had become the image the world associated with America's newest millionaire.

Lahti, who worked at a bank in her small hometown of Rathdrum, Idaho, went into hiding. She gave no public statements about the lottery winnings, quit her job, asked the media not to contact her, disconnected her phone numbers, and eventually moved from Rathdrum without a trace.

Brad Wilde, who managed the convenience store in Post Falls, Idaho, where Lahti bought her winning ticket, said that she and her husband had left town and no one knew where they went. Wilde told ABC News earlier this year that he had heard Lahti moved to Hawaii and her husband to California to go to college, though he wasn't sure he believed either of the rumors.

Workers at Lahti's former employer, Inland Northwest Bank in Post Falls, told ABC that Lahti had quit and no longer lived nearby.

Lahti and her husband had both been arrested for battery in 2003, though the charges were later dropped. Joshua Lahti had been arrested more than a dozen times on drug, battery, and alcohol charges. At the time of the lottery drawing, the two were separated but still legally married.

Now, Lahti has begun to adjust to life as a lottery-winning millionaire.

In May, the mother of two attended a fundraiser at her former place of employment, Inland Northwest Bank in Post Falls. She refused to be interviewed by the local newspaper, which called the event Lahti's first public appearance since winning the jackpot.

"Privacy is still her big concern and, as a result, I don't ask any questions that would violate that privacy," bank employee Ron Jacobson told the local newspaper, the Coeur D'Alene Press. "I did tell her that she looked and sounded happier and less stressed than the last time we spoke."

Lahti agreed to help out at the Relay for Life cancer fundraiser and match all of the donations collected by her former co-workers. Suzanna Spencer, a branch manager at the bank, said that Lahti was still friendly and nice when she popped back up after a year-and-a-half in hiding.

"She is an avid dog lover and adopted a wonderful lab mix that is now one of the loves of her life," Spencer told the newspaper. "Her goal has been to get settled down before her girls' high school years. She has a good head on her shoulders and has gotten things lined up in her life."

Messages to Lahti and attempts to contact her have not been returned.

Lahti's story may serve as a cautionary tale to lottery hopefuls buying tickets to today's drawing of the Powerball jackpot. A flood of media scrutiny, requests for monetary hand-outs, and publicity typically floods winners of the major lottery games.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr242012

Virginia Woman Wins $1 Million Lottery Twice in the Same Day

Virginia Lottery(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Winning the lottery once in a lifetime is pretty lucky.  Winning the lottery twice in the same day?  Virginia Fike is one of the few people that can describe that feeling.

The Berryville, Va., resident had two tickets that matched five of the six Powerball numbers in an April 7 drawing, making each ticket worth $1 million.

"I'm in shock!" Fike said in a news release from the Virginia Lottery.

In early April, Fike stopped at an Olde Stone Truck Stop in Virginia with her numbers ready and purchased two tickets.

"I picked numbers based on my parents' anniversary and their ages at that time, divided by the year they were married," Fike said in the release.  "I just love the jackpot games and I play when I can afford it."

The jackpot that week was at $80 million.  In order to win the jackpot, the ticket holder has to match the five numbers and the sixth Powerball number.

After the drawing, it was announced that no one had won the jackpot, but 14 people nationwide had matched five of the numbers and were entitled to $1 million prizes each.  Two of the winning tickets were in Virginia.

Fike was in the hospital keeping her mother company.

"I saw a scroll on TV about there being two $1 million winners.  I looked at my mom and said 'Wouldn't it be funny if it was us?'" she said.

When she stopped by a convenience store, Fike had the clerk check her tickets and she discovered that she had won both of Virginia's $1 million prizes.

Per Virginia state lottery rules, winners split the jackpot, regardless of how many there are, but non-jackpot prizes from matching part of the winning sequence are not split and can be won multiple times.

"It's not that uncommon for people to buy tickets in games with the same number, but this is the biggest prize we've ever had in Virginia of two tickets in the same drawing," Virginia Lottery spokesman John Hagerty told ABC News.

Fike was presented with a check for $2 million last Friday at the truck stop where she purchased the ticket.  Winners in Virginia are required to come forward and be identified. 

She will receive $1.4 million after taxes.  The store also received a $20,000 bonus for selling the two winning tickets.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb132012

Winning $336 Million Powerball Ticket Sold in Newport, RI

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEWPORT, R.I.) -- Lottery officials announced Monday morning that the winning Powerball ticket worth $336.4 million was sold at a Stop & Shop in the tiny enclave of Newport, R.I., though the winner has not yet come forward.

The supermarket is located at 250 Bellevue Ave., lottery officials said during a press conference Monday.

Over the weekend, it was announced that the winner of the Saturday night drawing was from Rhode Island, but the location of the ticket sale had not yet been disclosed.

If the winner chooses the cash option, the lump sum payment will be a record $210 million -- the highest cash jackpot ever for the Powerball game.

The winner made a $9 wager and has one year to claim the ticket before it expires, a spokeswoman for the lottery said.

The winning jackpot numbers drawn Saturday were 1-10-37-52-57, with a Powerball of 11.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb122012

Winning Powerball Ticket Sold in Rhode Island

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(URBANDALE, Iowa) -- Lottery officials say there is a winning Powerball ticket and it's going to make one person in Rhode Island very rich.

Officials say the winning ticket, which was confirmed by officials Sunday to have been purchased in Rhode Island, is worth $336,400,000 million. It was originally estimated to be $325 million.

The winning numbers drawn were 1-10-37-52-57, with a Powerball of 11.

The identity of the winner was not immediately released.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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