Nothing particularly stands out about the depanneur run by Mehernosh Iranpur in a Dollard des Ormeaux strip mall on St. John’s Boulevard.
There are the standard rows of gum, candy bars and mints near the cash register, a refrigerator with drinks, racks of magazines and newspapers, and a Loto-Quebec lottery machine.
That machine, however, may be at the centre of a controversy that erupted last week and found its way into the courts, according to Dollard resident Joel Ifergan, who was told he was 0.0007 seconds away from being able to redeem winning numbers on a lottery ticket. “The machine […] is one of the older machines,” Ifergan, who bought two tickets printed from it on May 23rd, told The Chronicle.
That night, he said he had gone to a Dairy Queen right next door in the same strip mall to pick up some ice cream and then saw a Super 7 poster in the adjacent depanneur’s display case. “I had other tickets,” Ifergan said, but he decided on a whim to pick a couple of more. Walking in, he asked the storeowner, Iranpur, if he still had time to buy tickets for that week’s prize, $27 million, and the latter told him he did.
Ifergan purchased two tickets, letting the machine pick numbers automatically. The first printed out with the date for the May 23 draw on it. The second, however, only came out with registered after 9 p.m., with a May 30 draw date on it. “When it came out, I said ‘I don’t know if it’s this week or next week (‘s draw),” Iranpur said he told his customer.
Ifergan made little of it until he returned home to find out the next morning that the numbers he had on the second ticket happened to correspond to the winning lottery numbers-but for May 23, not 30. “I screamed,” Ifergan said, when he realized he had the winning numbers. “I screamed again,” he said, when he realized he did not have them on the ‘right’ ticket.
Along with a lawyer friend, Ifergan met with Loto-Quebec technicians and a lawyer who allowed him to go through the machine’s records. It emerged Ifergan had made his purchase before the 9 p.m. deadline, but due to a delay in processing, the numbers only came out a key 0.0007 seconds too late. “It’s too bad,” Ifergan said the Loto-Quebec employees told him.
He said he and his lawyer tried to settle out of court, but the company argued it owed them nothing.
Now Ifergan is suing Loto Quebec for $13.5 million, half of the original prize draw, since another ticket holder got the winning numbers as well. “Twenty-seven million has already been paid up,” he told The Chronicle. “They wouldn’t be happy to pay another $13 million.”
Iranpur said the situation was quite unique. “(Something like this) happened once but it was after 9 o ‘clock,” he recalled, and there were no disputes between Loto-Quebec and that ticket buyer in question.
As the case is before the courts now, Loto-Quebec is not commenting to media.
On the company’s official website, the deadline for wagers is specified as 9 p.m., but no further precision is provided.