May 14, 2021

California woman may have washed $26m lottery fortune down the drain

[The Guardian, Associated Press]

  • Norwalk woman believes winning ticket was lost in laundry
  • Thursday was last day to redeem prize from November draw

The winner of a $26m California lottery prize may have literally washed the chance of a fortune down the drain.

Nobody did.

Store employee Esperanza Hernandez told the Whittier Daily News that a woman came in on Wednesday and told workers that she had put the ticket in her pants and it was destroyed in the laundry.

The store’s manager told KTLA-TV that surveillance video showed the woman who bought the ticket, and she is known to store workers.

A copy of the surveillance video was turned over to California lottery officials, the manager said.

The claim will be investigated, a lottery spokeswoman, Cathy Johnston, said.

Lottery officials say someone who believes he or she is a winner must complete a claim form. But if someone loses a ticket, they must provide evidence that they owned it, such as a photograph of the front and back of the ticket, the officials said.

The winning numbers were: 23, 36, 12, 31, 13, with the mega number of 10. The $26m prize can be taken in annual installments or as a $19.7m cash option.

The store that sold the ticket will receive a $130,000 bonus.

It’s uncommon for large jackpots to go unclaimed, officials said.

Four prizes of $20m or more haven’t been claimed since 1997, including a $63m prize from 2015, a lottery spokesman, Jorge De La Cruz, told the Los Angeles Times.

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