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Pair Claiming To Have Thrown Away $1 Million Lotto Ticket Suing N.J. Lottery

MAHWAH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Remember the New Jersey man who made headlines after winning the jackpot in the Lottery last year?

As it happens, it turns out there were a couple of men who claim they were winners too, but threw their ticket away.

The men have now filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey Lottery, CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

Erick Onyango and Salvatore Cambria, both of Suffern, Rockland County, claim they had a million-dollar lottery ticket in their hands, but they threw it away.

"I was very upset -- Mad, angry, hurt -- everything. I'm like, this is my ticket out of here," Cambria said.

The two friends bought three Powerball tickets from a Mahwah, New Jersey 7-Eleven last year.

Onyango said he checked the winning numbers on his phone 15 minutes after the drawing and was convinced they didn't have a winner.

"I'm like this, this, this while he's checking and, like, 'Oh, no. It's not the one,'" Onyango said.

"I crumpled it up, put it inside of an empty cigarette pack, and put it in my garbage can," said Cambria.

But it turned out the numbers Onyango was reading were from the previous Powerball drawing.

Days later, when Onyango said he realized he bought a winning ticket that matched five numbers and was worth $1 million, the ticket was already buried in a garbage dump, Sanchez reported.

Glady Gannon said she's confident she sold the winning ticket to Onyango.

"I remember that night he was in here and I sold it to him -- three individual tickets on the Powerball," Gannon said.

The two men said the serial numbers on the tickets they kept prove they bought the winning ticket.

"There's two serial numbers per ticket -- 89, 90. The third ticket is 93 and 94. So the middle ticket, 91 and 92, is gone," Cambria said.

The pair is suing the New Jersey Lottery Commission for their winnings, arguing they never would have thrown away the ticket if the correct numbers were posted online.

The commission could not comment on the pending lawsuit.

But other lottery players told Sanchez they think the men are out of luck.

"You threw away the lottery ticket. You're not getting it," one person said.

"He should've confirmed the data before he threw the ticket out," another weighed in.

All in all, it was a painful lesson for Onyango and Cambria, who said before they toss another ticket, they'll stop and ask, as a sign in the store reads, "Are you throwing away a million dollars?"

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