A woman who claims to be the winner of a $26 million lottery ticket says she may have literally washed it down the drain. The unnamed California woman said she purchased the lottery ticket at a Norwalk ARCO AM/PM convenience store six months ago.
According to her, she put the ticket into the pockets of her pant and unfortunately forgot to take it out while doing the laundry. She reportedly walked into the store and claimed to have accidentally washed the ticket down the drain, according to the Whittier Daily News.
A California Lottery Center spokeswoman, Cathy Johnston, says at least six people have turned in a non-ticket claim to the lottery office. She adds that the woman did not bring the ticket in by the 5:00 pm deadline. The winning numbers were 23, 36, 12, 31, 13 and the mega number was 10.
To win the prize, Johnston says you must show “compelling substantial proof you were in possession of the ticket.” She adds that “every claim of this size, if it is not turned in, will be investigated.”
The store’s manager reportedly told KTLA-TV that surveillance video showed that the woman indeed purchased the ticket and that she is well known to the store workers.
The store has subsequently given a copy of the surveillance video to the California Lottery Centre. However, Johnston says store surveillance video is not considered reliable proof.
According to the official, a more compelling proof would be a photograph of the lottery showing the front and back of the ticket. Johnston adds that if no one successfully claims the $26 million cash prize, some $19 million cash option will go into education.
The Los Angeles Times reports that there are several instances where big money jackpots have gone unclaimed. In 2015, the winner of a $26 million jackpot never stepped foot to claim it. Also, three other pots of $20 million from the California Lottery have not been claimed since 1997.