What could possibly make you miss claiming a jackpot that you’ve just won? Imagine the following scenario – playing the same digits for a period of 20 years and one evening, finding out that you’ve won. You start looking for the ticket only to realize that you’ve lost it. That’s the stuff that nightmares are made of!
While this is one possible scenario, it’s probably not the only one as far as unclaimed lottery prizes go.
Missing to claim a five-dollar payout is definitely not the biggest disaster out there. Throughout time, however, there have been massive jackpots that nobody came out to request. Here’s a list of some of the biggest unclaimed lottery prizes and the potential reasons behind these missed opportunities.
UK’s Biggest Loser
A number of these horror stories come from Europe, but this one will truly terrify you. A 65-million pound EuroMillions jackpot remained unclaimed in the UK in 2012 – the biggest unrequested jackpot in the history of the country.
According to lottery officials, the winner acquired their ticket in the Stevenage and Hitchin region, Hertfordshire. A national lottery publicity campaign occurred in search of the winner, but to no avail. Eventually, the potentially luckiest person in the UK missed the 180-day deadline and lost their chance to get a hold of the jackpot.
The unclaimed sum was added to a National Lottery Good Causes fund. The fund had already collected 29 billion pounds since 1994 and the funds are to be used for supporting an array of noble causes throughout the UK.
You Could Have Been 63-Million Dollars Richer!
Now let’s move on to one of the biggest unclaimed lottery prizes in the US.
In February 2016, a 63-million-dollar-worth ticket became 100 percent valueless. That was when the deadline for claiming the jackpot expired, making the SuperLotto Plus jackpot the biggest unclaimed one in the history of the states.
Just like in the case of the EuroMillions prize, the lucky winner had 180 days to step forward. There was a lot of hype and a multitude of media reports, yet the winner didn’t come forward to make the claim.
The story didn’t end there.
A man eventually came forward to sue California Lottery because he did attempt to make a claim. The man, however, was told that the ticket was way too damaged to be used for the purpose of proving he was the winner of the jackpot.
Brandy Milliner, a Los Angeles County resident, said that he bought the winning ticket on August 8, 2015. He quickly went to make a prize claim. After submitting the ticket and getting a congratulatory note, however, he was contacted a second time. Lottery officials said a payout would be impossible due to the state that the ticket was in.
At the same time, lottery officials said that they’d never received a Milliner’s claim.
So far, Milliner hasn’t been successful in claiming the jackpot. As of 2017, he has said in an interview that he will continue pursuing legal action in any way possible. Only the court will tell whether Brandy’s an imposter or the unluckiest lottery winner on the face of the planet. We have to say, however, that submitting a terribly damaged ticket to claim the millions is a rather crafty move.
The Jackpot That Wasn’t Claimed by Two Players
One person failing to come forward is a bummer, but how about two? Yes, we have one such story when it comes to unclaimed lottery prizes.
In 2006, the National Lottery jackpot fell in the UK. Lottery organizers said that the sum of 1.667 million pounds was to be split among the owners of two lucky tickets.
One of the tickets was bought in Glasgow and the second one was acquired in the county of Warwickshire. Surprisingly, neither winner came forward to request the prize before the deadline expired.
Canada’s Unclaimed Jackpots
Europe and the US aren’t the only parts of the world that have disaster stories to share about the biggest unclaimed lottery prizes. According to reports, prizes worth millions of dollars are not claimed every single year in Canada.
Lottery officials reported that most of these prizes were low. It was rather uncommon for a prize exceeding 100,000 dollars to remain unclaimed within the specified period.
In Ontario alone, prizes worth 21.4 million Canadian dollars expired in 2014. The biggest portion of unclaimed prizes ranged from 2 to 10 dollars. The biggest jackpot to remain unclaimed in Canada after a period of one year was 5 million dollars. This happened in 2004.
Previously, a jackpot of 4.5-million dollars remained unclaimed in 1989.
The Mega Millions Nightmare
The US is probably the country that has the biggest number of stories pertaining to massive unclaimed jackpots. Here’s another example that will make you cry – a 31-million-dollar Mega Millions jackpot that remained without an owner.
In 2006, one Mega Millions ticket was bought in New York on August 1 and it proved to be the winning one. Though officials narrowed down the winning area to Queens, there was still no information about the individual who made a purchase.
This isn’t the only case in which a New York jackpot has gone unclaimed. A sum of 46 million dollars expired in August 2003 and another prize of 68 million dollars expired in 2002.
The Man Who Lost His Ticket and Sued the Lottery
The final story we’d like to tell you is a really curious one.
In 2003, a Brooklyn man called Fritzner Bechette came forward, stating that he had won the Mega Millions drawing that had been held on Christmas Eve the previous year. Fritzner wanted to be paid the 63-million-dollar jackpot and the interest rate that had accumulated since then!
What had prevented the man from claiming the jackpot was the fact that he had (conveniently) lost the winning ticket. According to Fritzner, the ticket went missing in a ‘non-retrievable situation,” whatever that means.
Fritzner also explained that he had been attempting to claim the jackpot since December 25, 2002.
According to lottery officials, the jackpot for the Christmas Eve drawing was 68 million dollars. Nobody has explained why Fritzner’s court case is set for 63 million dollars.
The court case was filed with the Queens Supreme Court. The judges received evidence from New York’s state lottery that there was no information in its archive about a ticket that matched Fritzner’s description. A thorough investigation was carried out and it was eventually established that the man wasn’t in possession of the piece of paper worth 68 million dollars.
The court considered the evidence to be undisputed and its ruling was against Fritzner’s claim.
So, if you ever decide to make a claim for a jackpot or another big prize, you better think carefully about it. A ragged ticket and claims about a lost ticket obviously can’t do the trick. You will need to get a bit more creative than that if you ever decide to test your skills and try fooling the lottery.