Illinois Lottery bounced checks for 8 winners

May 18, 2013 (CHICAGO)

"So much money goes into the lottery, you would think that they would be able to pay out. And then when you find out that a check bounced, you're stunned. Why would a lottery check bounce? At first I didn't believe it!" said Chicago Lotto Winner Patti Crenshaw.

But it's true. Illinois Lottery officials confirm they bounced eight checks May 1st worth $9,940 dollars.

The smallest was Crenshaw's $847 dollar check; the largest was $2,565. That belonged to Charles Cinquegrani. His bank alerted him.

"They said the check you deposited is no good. I said, 'what?!' I couldn't believe it," said Norridge Pick 4 Winner Cinquegrani.

Cinquegrani is from Norridge. Other winners with bounced checks live in Chicago, Schiller Park, Chicago Heights and Homer Glen.

Lotto officials say it was human error, a Lotto employee forgot to approve the winning funds on deadline. So the Lotto's bank, U.S. Bank, did not release the money when the checks arrived.

"It was a mistake, we're not happy with it. We're actually looking at possibly, maybe in our procedures, minimizing the likelihood that this can happen again," said Illinois Lottery spokesman Mike Lang.

In Crenshaw's case, she was busy so her future daughter-in-law signed this pink claim form, got the check, cashed it at a Currency Exchange- only to have the management company after her to return the cash, and pay a fee.

"I was worried, you know, I didn't want to owe anything," said Catherine Reillo, Crenshaw's daughter-in-law.

"I'm glad I got my money out of it, but I felt bad because I wrapped her up in it," said Crenshaw.

In the end, they re-issued Cinquegrani's check.

"I hope it don't bounce again," said Cinquegrani.

The Lotto covered their winnings, and fees for bounced checks.

"It didn't make no sense to me that a lottery check would bounce. I was stunned," said Crenshaw.

In the end, Crenshaw kept the money and hopes for more.

"I'm still willing to play, yes. I'm hoping my luck plays through on Powerball or Mega over the weekend," said Crenshaw.

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