Two big-money Mega Millions tickets could be lost, official says
Two months after a record-breaking Mega Millions lottery draw, two tickets valued at $227,955 each remain unclaimed, and a lottery official said Wednesday the tickets -- including one sold in Hollywood -- may very well have been lost.
California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said he “would lean toward” predicting that the two tickets, which matched five of six winning numbers, will never be turned in, considering how much time has passed since the $656-million draw in March.
But, he said, three co-workers from San Jose brought in a winning ticket in mid-May and nonchalantly explained they “wanted to let things calm down a bit.”
Traverso added that winners who match five of six numbers have six months to claim their prize.
“Every day that goes by, the odds increase that the ticket is lost,” Traverso said. “It’s not an amount of money where you want to wait and figure out your financial situation. It’s a nice prize, but it’s not life-changing.”
He said the lottery keeps track of unclaimed tickets valued at $150,000 or more and such tickets go unclaimed “maybe once or twice a year at most.” The highest percentage of California Lottery retailers are in Southern California, which therefore has the highest percentage of winners -– and lost tickets, he said.
A Mega Millions ticket sold in Pomona won the $32-million jackpot Tuesday night, which means the jackpot will reset for Friday’s draw.
-- Matt Stevens
Photo: Lines form in March to buy tickets for the Mega Millions lottery. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times