It was the largest unclaimed prize in New York state lottery history. In 1991, no one came forward with a ticket worth $12 million, the money went back into the prize pool. Janet Valenti, now 77, claims that she was the owner of the winning ticket over 30 years ago, but she threw it into the trash. “I couldn’t get over it for a long time,” she admits.
In an interview with the portal USA Today, 77-year-old Janet Valenti from New York State admitted that one of the lottery tickets she bought over 30 years ago was the winning one, but she accidentally threw it into the trash.
The woman said that on July 17, 1991, in the city of Graniteville, she bought several coupons in one of the stores. Later, at home, she checked them all and, realizing that she had not won any prize, threw them away. Then she went on a weekend trip with her children. Soon, her friend informed her that the lottery winner had purchased the ticket in the same place as her. When she saw the winning numbers, she immediately knew they were the ones she had chosen.
“I was devastated.” The woman lost $12 million
According to Valenti, she immediately went home to look for the thrown winning ticket, but it didn’t help. “My neighbor, who has never, ever since I lived there, put my garbage out in front of the building for collection, did it this time,” the woman claims. So the trash bin was already empty a long time ago. Valenti contacted a lawyer to explain the situation and ask for advice. However, she was told that the only way to get the prize was to have a physical ticket and that even surveillance footage from the store where she bought the ticket would not be helpful.
“I couldn’t get over it”
“I was devastated. I couldn’t get over it for a long time,” she said in an interview with USA Today. When the incident occurred, Valenti was a single mother because her husband had died several years earlier. However, the woman claims that she no longer holds any grudges against herself and that having so much money could have a negative impact on her life. “Who knows what would happen if I had them?” – wonders. The 77-year-old admits that she still sometimes plays the lottery.
According to lottery rules in New York State, a winning ticket becomes invalid if the owner does not claim it one year after purchase. In fact, no one claimed the ticket from July 17, 1991, and the $12 million that was to be won at that time was returned to the prize pool. At the time, it was the largest unclaimed prize in state lottery history.
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