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Originally published Monday, December 24, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Bah humbug: Ex-friends go to court over jackpot

What was supposed to be a festive New England Christmas tradition has turned sour for two former friends who are taking their fight over...

BOSTON — What was supposed to be a festive New England Christmas tradition has turned sour for two former friends who are taking their fight over a $200,000 winning lottery ticket to court.

Brenda White, 55, of Plaistow, N.H., won $200,000 on a Massachusetts State Lottery $5 scratch ticket appropriately called "Bah Hum Bucks" during a Yankee swap party Dec. 15 in Haverhill.

In a Yankee swap, participants have the option of either keeping a gift they choose or swapping for a gift selected by someone who preceded them.

White swapped for the lottery ticket originally selected by Franco Sapia, 39, of Derry, N.H.

Before scratching the ticket, she promised to split any winnings with Sapia, according to a complaint Sapia filed in Essex Superior Court.

She didn't, and Sapia is claiming half the jackpot in his lawsuit, saying there were several witnesses to the promise.

A judge has agreed to freeze the jackpot until the matter is resolved.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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