On the 11th January, the $50,000 (R878,395 in South Africa), Powerball lottery was won in Greenbay, Wiskonsin, USA. However, it was later announced that the owner of the winning ticket had not come forward to claim the $50 000 prize money before the 180-day prize deadline.
But just in the nick of time, Nancy Cooper, who lives in Tamarac, Florida, USA, mailed her winning ticket and claim letter to the Madison lottery office on the 6th of July, three days before the 180-day deadline. Due to a delay at the post office Nancy’s mail had only arrived at the Lottery office days after the 180-day deadline. However, the Lottery office found that Cooper was still eligible to claim her prize because her mail had been posted before the deadline, therefore they were able to process Nancy’s claim for her to get her winnings. The odds of winning a $50,000 Powerball prize are 1 in 913,130, officials said. While it is unusual for major lottery prizes to go unclaimed, it has happened on several occasions.
Here is a list of some of the biggest unclaimed lottery prizes in history:
€64 Million EuroMillions (R1,3 Billion)
An incredible grand prize of €127 million in the EuroMillions draws was won by two winning tickets in June 2012. The winnings would be shared between the two winners. Fortunately, the owner of one of the winning tickets came forth to claim their €64 Million prize before the deadline. Unfortunately, the owner of the other winning ticket which was purchased in England had not come forth to claim their half of the jackpot prize and missed out on one massive payout. This is EuroMillions’ highest unclaimed jackpot in history. However, all is not doom and gloom as the unclaimed winnings were contributed towards the National Lottery Good Causes which gives the unclaimed money to various charities around the U.K.
$68 Million Mega Millions (R1,1 Billion)
One lucky winner could have walked away with a $68 million Mega Millions lottery payout in 2002 but the winning ticket was not brought forward before the expiration date. However, in 2003 a man by the name of Fritzner Bechette, came forward claiming that he was the lucky winner of the $68 million. He said that he had been trying to claim his winnings since the day after the results were announced and filed a lawsuit in the Queens Supreme Court against the New York State Lottery. Fritzner claimed that he had misplaced his winning ticket, therefore, could not come forward to claim his winning jackpot prize. After a lengthy investigation, lottery officials found that there was no ticket matching Fritzner’s description in the New York State Lottery’s archive.
$77 Million US Powerball (R1,3 Billion)
In 2011, the US Powerball paid out a massive $77 million and was won by one lucky winner in Georgia. Unfortunately, the unlucky winner had not come forth to claim their prize before the 180-day deadline and lost out on $77 million. This is the highest unclaimed jackpot since Georgia’s lottery was established in 1993.
$1,5 Billion Mega Millions (R26,3 Billion)
The draw for the second biggest jackpot in US history was held in October of 2018, in the USA. The winning ticket for the Mega Millions jackpot prize of $1,5 billion was bought in South Carolina but the winner had not come forth for 5 months to claim their prize. Unlike many unlucky winners, the winner of this large windfall came forth just in time to claim his prize. The winner chose to remain anonymous and after receiving a one-time cash payment of $877 million (R15,4 Billion) he sought out financial and legal advice from famous lottery lawyer, Jason Kurland.
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