Misprint may void lotto tickets
'Printing error' could cost him
By JASON BUCKLAND, SUN MEDIA
BRAMPTON -- You can easily see the pain in Thomas Noftall's eyes.
"They're going to take away my dream. They're going to take it all away," the 27-year-old said yesterday, staring at what he feels are $135,000 in winning scratch tickets the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. won't reward him for.
"I've gone from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in the past few days."
A regular lottery player, Noftall had his world turned upside down on New Year's Eve when he won huge denominations on four separate Fruit Smash scratch cards.
One card, he said from the basement apartment he shares with his wife and 21-month-old son, paid the top prize of $75,000.
Three other cards uncovered huge winnings, too, paying another $60,000 between them.
Noftall was beside himself.
"I'm thinking, I have a house. I can make my family upstairs happy. I can make my wife happy," he said.
"Now I can send my kids to school. I can do things in my life I've never done before."
But Noftall's quest to claim his riches with the OLG prize office has since turned into a whirlwind of anger, frustration and bureaucracy.
Despite his initial contact with a claims representative who assured him he would be paid, Noftall has since been told the tickets were a "printing error" and he's not likely to see any cash.
"And I made sure to ask the woman from the start -- in about seven different ways -- if I would get paid regardless of the error because it was their mistake," Noftall said.
"She told me I absolutely would. She said they made the mistake and it would be false advertising if they didn't (pay)."
An OLG spokesman told the Sun last night there were 1,000 Fruit Smash tickets misprinted across the province and that players should consult a lottery prize centre to deal with the issue.
Noftall did that yesterday, and it was not an encouraging visit.
"One guy pulled me into his office and said, 'Between me and you, they're going to void your tickets. They're not going to pay,'" Noftall said of his visit to Toronto's downtown prize centre.
So now, the steelworker father -- who is behind on child support payments for two young daughters he rarely sees -- wonders if he'll ever see the money to help those close to him.
"My dad isn't doing well and I told him I could finally take care of him," he said. "I thought I had a chance to have something better, something decent for once."
Last I heard, the OLG was willing to refund to Noftall the origional retail cost
of his lotto tickets. Thanks for coming.