Note to California Lottery players, and to all lottery players: keep your friends close, and your ticket closer.
The New York Daily News is reporting that an unidentified California man has forfeited his $1.1 million Powerball prize because he cannot produce the winning ticket before the 180-day deadline expired. The winning numbers, played on Sept. 13 Powerball were 37, 6, 1, 53 and 16. It was only missing the Powerball number, which was 27.
The man, who did not immediately identify himself, was originally found when the California Lottery commission took the time stamp of when the ticket was purchased and matched it to the video surveillance tape of the Rosemead, California store where the ticket was purchased.
The man went to his local California Lottery office to claim his prize. However, when asked for the winning ticket, he stated the ticket had been lost. California Lottery officials had to, unfortunately, let the man know that since the winning ticket could not be verified, the prize could not be claimed.
Since the prize was essentially unclaimable, and the deadline for claiming the prize has passed, the total sum of $1,098, 624 will now go to California public schools. In the 30 years since the California Lottery began, California public schools have received more than $800 million dollars in unclaimed lottery winnings.
ABC News is reporting that even though the California lottery’s efforts were able to find the man, whose name is not being released but who purchased the ticket, the rules regarding prize claiming are clear.
“We believe the man who came forward yesterday was the actual guy in the surveillance footage,” a California Lottery spokesman said,” but unfortunately, in Powerball rules, you have to have a physical ticket to win.”
The rules regarding prize claiming are printed on the back of all California lottery tickets, and available in print and online for lottery players to read.
The unidentified man didn’t know about the situation until he returned to the Rosemead supermarket where he bought the ticket, and was told by a cashier who had seen the video footage on the news about the situation.
Rosemead Supermarket received a payment of $5,493, which totals 1/2 of one percent of the total lottery prize won. The lottery commission stated that, by rule, the store gets the payment because they sold the ticket, regardless of whether or not the prize was claimed.
The largest unclaimed prize in California lottery history is $28.5 million, in 2003.
For what it’s worth, the deadline to claim the $1.1 million prize was Friday, the 13th of March of this year.
[Image courtesy of New York Daily News]