The winner of a $26 million California Lottery prize might have washed their chances of a once-in-a-lifetime fortune literally down the drain.
According to Yahoo! News, the winning SuperLotto Plus ticket for the November 14 drawing was sold at an Arco AM/PM convenience store in the Los Angeles suburb of Norwalk. Yesterday was the last day to redeem it, but it seems as though no one did.
Store employee Esperanza Hernandez told the Whittier Daily News that a woman came in on Wednesday to explain that she had purchased the winning lottery ticket, telling workers that she had put the ticket in her pants pocket and later was destroyed in the laundry.
It is possible that the unnamed woman could be one of at least six people who turned in a non-ticket claim to the lottery office, Cathy Johnston, California Lottery Center spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview. However, the woman was a bit too late to file her claim as she didn’t bring the ticket in by the 5 p.m. deadline, Johnston added. In order to get the prize you need “compelling substantial proof you were in possession of the ticket,” such as a photograph of the front and back of the ticket.
The store’s manager told KTLA-TV that surveillance video showed the woman who bought the ticket, described to be in her 40s, and she’s known to store workers. Johnston said the claim will be investigated, but since the cameras aren’t owned by the lottery center you can’t be sure of the time factor.
The winning numbers for the November 14 draw were: 23, 36, 12, 31, 13, and the mega number of 10. The $26 million prize can be taken in annual installments or as a $19.7 million cash option. If the prize isn’t claimed, the $19.7 million will go to California public schools and the store that sold the ticket will receive a $130,000 bonus. Lottery officials encouraged players to double-check any tickets purchased that day at the winning location to see if one matches all six numbers, as it is uncommon for large jackpots to go unclaimed, officials said.
Four prizes of $20 million or more haven’t been claimed since 1997, including a $63 million prize from 2015, lottery spokesman Jorge De La Cruz told the Los Angeles Times.