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Few Californians have turned in $227,000 Mega Millions tickets

April 6, 2012 |  4:24 pm


California Lottery officials said that fewer than half of the $227,995 tickets won in the record-setting Mega Millions jackpot last week have been redeemed by their owners as of Friday afternoon.

Only 12 of 29 ticket holders have come forward to claim their paydays, according to lottery spokesman Alex Traverso.

“I’m actually a little surprised there haven’t been more,” he said. “I think if we’re still in a position next week where we haven’t heard from more than half the people, then you start to wonder a little bit.”

Traverso noted that many of the unclaimed tickets were purchased in areas that are not remote. There are still outstanding tickets, he said, from Hollywood, Venice, Los Angeles and San Diego, to name a few.

However, a handful of Southland residents have turned in their tickets, including a group of Disneyland employees and three Ventura residents who waited to turn their ticket in until Friday because they had the day off.

"That's very practical of you," Traverso said he told the three winners, adding he was surprised more people did not take days off to turn their tickets in.   

Three tickets matching all five numbers and the mega number were sold for a share of the massive jackpot. Only one of those has been claimed -- on Friday by someone in Kansas whose identity will remain undisclosed. One McDonald's employee in Maryland has been the focus of controversy after she claimed to have the winning ticket but said she misplaced it.


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-- Matt Stevens


Photo: Dennis Wilson, executive director of the Kansas Lottery, shares the spotlight Friday with a poster depicting the anonymous winner of a share of the $656-million Mega Millions jackpot. Credit: John Hanna / Associated Press