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2 Men Sue Lottery [04/04/2007]
Two men have filed a lawsuit against the Hoosier Indiana Lottery, seeking class-action status as a result of the lottery's admitted misrepresentation of the number and amount of prizes available in a scratch-off game.

Jeff Frazer and Jeff Koehlinger seek reimbursement in the lawsuit filed for their losses in playing "Cash Blast."

Frazer purchased $40,000 worth of the $10 tickets and Koehlinger $2,470.

The game promised seven grand prizes of $250,000 each, plus several lesser prizes of up to $10,000 each.

But in July, after selling 5 million tickets, the lottery abruptly reduced the number and amount of prizes in the course of two weeks, according to the lawsuit.

"It was because the prizes never existed," said the plaintiffs' lawyer. "About 60,000 prizes weren't available that people were buying these tickets for," the attorney said.

The Hoosier Lottery has admitted to overstating cash prizes in a statement on its Web site. The lottery attributes the problem to a mistake in printing by the lottery's scratch-off vendor that affected up to 2.5 million tickets, which amounted to about $25 million spent on the potentially defective tickets.

The lawsuit claims the lottery overstated the number and amount of prizes in the Cash Blast game by as much as $8 million from May 2005 to July 2006.

Frazer and Koehlinger complain that the lottery's advertising misled them into thinking the odds were on their side when they bought tickets.

"As the game wrapped up, the last 10 to 20 percent of the tickets being left, virtually all the prizes were still available," said Frazer, 51, a real estate contractor.

When the problem with the ticket printing was discovered, both men received apologies from the lottery by e-mail, but the lottery refused to refund the money they spent on tickets.

Both men say lottery officials told them that despite the defective tickets, the losses could have been coincidence.

The lawsuit seeks to represent people who purchased Hoosier Lottery tickets.

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