'Lottery partner' runs off with US$300,000 ticket

Leslie Underwood (L) and her co-worker Mandy Vanhouten (R).
Leslie Underwood (L) and her co-worker Mandy Vanhouten (R). Photo credit: Supplied

A waitress in Arkansas has been left devastated after her "lottery partner" cashed a US$300,000 (NZ$422,000) winning ticket without her.

Leslie Underwood told local media she's been left with nothing after her co-worker Mandy Vanhouten split and now she's considering legal action.

The tickets had been given to the pair by their boss and Ms Underwood said they had a mutual agreement that any proceeds were to be evenly split as a "Christmas bonus".

When the pair discovered that they'd hit the jackpot, they jointly discussed what to do with the winnings, which Ms Underwood said confirmed their mutual understanding to split the winnings.

"We was both reading the back of it, trying to find the little, you know, 'You're pranked!' But no, it was a real one," Ms Underwood told CBS News.

"We talked about how life changing it would be and what we were gonna do with this money. [Ms Vanhouten] even talked about giving back and that it was such a blessing."

But instead, Ms Vanhouten took the ticket, cashed it without telling her and ran, Ms Underwood said.

Now Ms Underwood is considering legal action - and a co-worker's warning has turned out to be an ominous prediction of the future.

"Y'all won't be friends by the end of this," the co-worker had predicted.