$36-million Lotto prize is subject of lawsuit

Published May 3, 2007

ZEPHYRHILLS - A Zephyrhills truck driver is suing his former co-worker, saying the lottery ticket the man cashed in November worth $36-million is rightfully his.

Michael L. Ford, 32, sued Abraham Shakespeare, 41, in Polk County Court last week, alleging that Shakespeare stole the winning ticket from his wallet.

Michael Lauranto, an attorney for Ford, said that there is security video from the location of the purchase - a Town Star convenience store in Frostproof - that shows his client paying for the ticket.

According to the complaint, Ford originally thought he had lost tickets from his wallet. Meanwhile, Shakespeare opted to cash out the ticket for $17-million.

Reginald Hicks, a lawyer from Orlando who is representing Shakespeare, said he didn't want to go into the specifics of the case Tuesday, but that the complaint was "just allegations."