Misprinted Lottery Ticket Fools Man Into Thinking He Won $1 Million ‎

A Boston man said his $1,000,000 Cashword ticket is a winner. The state lottery says otherwise.

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CBS Boston

There’s perhaps no greater cruelty than thinking you’ve won the lottery, only to find it’s all a sham. And perhaps no one is perhaps more disappointed than Paul Pasquarosa.

Pasquarosa, of Boston, Mass., decided to take a chance on the day before his birthday. On a whim, he bought a $10 lottery ticket and hit the jackpot — or so he thought.

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After Pasquarosa scraped clear the clues on his $1,000,000 Cashword scratch-off, it revealed three red words. The prize key indicated that the ticket was worth a million dollars, but on closer inspection it became clear that something was amiss. There had been a problem in the printing, making the ticket invalid.

Misprinted lottery tickets do happen, although infrequently. According to CBS Boston, out of 20 million tickets printed by the Massachusetts state lottery, an estimated 2,200 are believed to be defective. Lottery officials have tried to prevent the defective tickets from being circulated; so far, it seems like the company has no plans to honor the misprinted tickets.

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For the unemployed father of two, though, there may not be a happy ending. In an interview with CBS, he recalls finding the unlucky ticket that dashed him of his dreams: “I’m looking at it; I have three red words. It says three red words wins a million dollars.”

“I called my son and told him things were gonna be OK.”

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.