UPDATE: Eau Claire lottery winner owes thousands of dollars in state debt

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- An Eau Claire woman who won the Wisconsin lottery will not be receiving all her winnings due to thousands of dollars of outstanding debts.

Thursday it was announced that Valerie Diestelmeier won the first top prize of $100,000 playing the Incredible Crossword Scratch game.

Diestelmeier purchased her winning ticket at the Mega Holiday on Water Street in Eau Claire.

However, Patty Mayers with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue says she'll have to pay off thousands of dollars in unpaid fines before she sees any of the prize money

“When a lottery winner wins $600 or more we automatically check that person for any state debt that might be outstanding and if any are discovered the winnings are used to offset that state debt before that winning balance will go to that individual,” explained Mayers.

Diestelmeier is finding herself in that position after the Eau Claire County Courthouse says she owes more than $11,000 in fines from around 40 different court cases.

The Wisconsin Lottery says it has the standard policy in place to make sure it catches individuals like Diestelmeier and cover their state debt.

“The Wisconsin Lottery, its mission is to provide property tax relief,” added Mayers. “It's very important to us that despite the fact that it's a fun game to play, that the lottery is a fun form of entertainment for a lot of people, we want to make sure that if indeed they have any outstanding state debt that those are covered before the winnings are awarded.”

The lottery says winners like Diestelmeier should receive any winnings leftover after their debt is paid.

WEAU did go to Diestelmeier's home during the day to see if she had any comment but nobody appeared to be home. Friday night we heard from the winner and her husband, they say while Diestelmeier has pending fines, it's not important. They say winning the lottery was a good thing.



 
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