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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A man was arrested shortly after his wife claimed the prize from a $1 million North Carolina Education Lottery ticket.
Mikala Fields, a Brunswick Community College student who plans to study nursing, presented a winning 20X The Money ticket to lottery officials on July 2, according to N.C. Education Lottery spokesperson Van Denton. She chose to receive her prize as a $600,000 lump sum and received a check for $408,003 after taxes were withheld.
"I scratched it off a little and thought I had only won a dollar," Fields told Education Lottery officials. "But then I went back and saw there was more to it. It was awesome. I didn't think it was real. It still doesn't feel real now."
The Oak Island Police Department worked with Education Lottery security officials to investigate the woman's husband, Sean Mewherter. He was charged with larceny by an employee and possession of stolen goods over $100,000.
The investigation revealed that Mewherter illegally obtained the ticket while he was working at the Kangaroo Express on Yaupon Drive in Oak Island, Denton said.
"We are determined to take all steps possible to ensure that the security and integrity of the lottery and its games will not be compromised," stated Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery, in a news release. "We appreciate the vigilance of our partner, Kangaroo Express, in monitoring the sale of lottery tickets."
The Education Lottery is working to recover the prize money paid to Fields.
"A lot of safeguards are in place to ensure lottery prizes are honestly won," Garland stated. "In this case, lottery players didn't get the chance they should have had to win that prize. So when the money is recovered it will be used as prize money in a future instant game."
The case is still under investigation and, so far, no charges have been filed against Fields.
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