‘I’m a believer:’ Mother of 5 turns to Make Ends Meet for help getting $25K lotto prize back

DEO initially held Titusville woman’s money due to an unemployment overpayment issue

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Imagine winning a lottery prize of $25,000 only to be told the Department of Economic Opportunity is holding the money because of an unemployment overpayment.

Jakia Albritton, owner of a one-woman commercial and home cleaning company in Titusville, called News 6 to help her access her prize money.

“I didn’t even know I had an overpayment,” Albritton told News 6. “I woke up with a tension headache all behind my eyes.”

The tension was because she had been waiting since March 17 to collect the money she had won in a quick pick play.

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She said she played five tickets to win the top prize totaling $25,000.

Make Ends Meet has investigated dozens of similar cases that have resulted in more than $110,000 in lottery prizes being held, then released, with the help of the DEO, News 6 and The Florida Lottery.

“I was thinking they were going to take the whole thing,” Albritton said. “Thank you guys for giving me the consideration. You’re amazing.”

DEO press secretary Leigh McGowan told News 6 it is important to note “that current and/or previous Reemployment Assistance claimants who have an ‘overpayment’ on their Reemployment Assistance account may not owe money to DEO to resolve the overpayment.”

According to McGowan, the DEO finds that most overpayments come from claimants “not fully completing the claim process.”

“Unfortunately,“ McGowan said, “Many claimants do not check their account until they win the lottery, their tax return is intercepted or some other event motivates them to complete the claim process.”

Current and/or previous claimants can visit the www.FloridaJobs.org/Overpayments webpage for information on overpayments and how to resolve an overpayment on their Reemployment Assistance account.

If you have an investment, unemployment, or consumer issue, email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or simply text the words “Make Ends Meet” at 407-676-7428.

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About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.