The debate over how to resolve a dispute over a winning Massachusetts Lottery scratch ticket has captivated the region for days and there seem to be as many opinions as there are dollars up for grabs.

The story goes something like this: a guy buys a scratch ticket. He wins what he thinks is $4,000 and asks a woman he hears cashes in winning tickets for people to do the same for him for a percentage of the winnings. The man agrees to pay the woman $200 for her services and gives her a $200 tip on top of it. They part company.

A couple of days later the woman gives her co-worker a scratch ticket worth $4 million and the two women agree to split the prize. The man says the ticket is the one he gave her in exchange for cash and that he was hustled by her because he doesn't speak or read English and didn't understand the true value of the ticket.

Mass. State Lottery/Facebook

The woman denies knowing the man or ever cashing in a ticket for him.

There are a lot of things that we don't know about this case, including the legality of having someone cash in a winning ticket for you for a fee and why the man sought to do that in the first place. Was he attempting to skirt the tax system? Is there an issue with his legal status? Who knows at this point.

One thing is clear, there are lawyers involved now and unless the two sides meet soon and agree to an amicable way to split the winnings, a great deal of the money could be spent on lawyer fees and court costs, or the Commonwealth could just move to void the ticket.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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