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Man forgot about lottery ticket and almost lost $24 million


Alina Prikhodko

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A New Jersey man bought a lottery ticket, put it in his shirt pocket and forgot about it for a year. The ticket turned out to be a winner. According to Mirror, The lucky winner remembered the lottery two days before the expiration date.

It goes without saying that win the lottery, it takes a lot of luck, but retired security officer Jimmy Smith from New Jersey got lucky twice. The man remembered the lottery ticket 48 hours before it expired and it turned out that he had won 19,1 million pounds sterling ($24,1 million).

Smith bought a New York Lottery ticket, stuck it in his old shirt pocket along with a stack of other unverified lottery tickets, and forgot about them. He says he kept thinking about it and planning to check each one, but little did he know that he had been staggeringly rich for the past 12 months.

Search for the lucky one

Winners usually have a year to claim their prize. But as the expiration date approached, the New York Lottery decided it was time to make information about unclaimed lottery winnings public - otherwise, someone would be left at a huge disadvantage.

“We encourage New York Lottery players to check their pockets and look under the couch cushions. If you have that winning ticket, we look forward to seeing you,” Gweneth Dean, director of the Commission's Lotteries Division, said in 2017.

On the subject: Lottery Millionaires: How New Yorkers Win Jackpots

Luckily, former security officer Jimmy saw a story on the news about the mystery winner and decided to finally check his tickets. When he realized that all his numbers matched, he became numb and couldn’t believe his eyes.

“I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air. I was tormented by serious doubts. I couldn’t convince myself that this was real,” he admitted. This happened on May 23, but if it had happened on May 25, he would not have been able to collect his winnings.

After checking Jimmy's ticket, the New York Lottery released his name and announced, "We are thrilled that the lucky winner was able to find this life-changing ticket."

The father of two, who has 12 grandchildren, has decided to take his payments for 26 years and said he plans to hold a “family meeting” to do so.

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