year ago Thursday, someone walked into a QuikTrip in Des Moines, Iowa, picked up a lottery ticket and hit the jackpot: $16.5 million.
For the next year, officials with the Iowa Lottery waited for the person or persons to come forward.
That wait ends at 4 p.m Thursday.
If the ticket goes unclaimed, it will be the second time this week that someone has forfeited a mega payday. On Monday, a $77 million lottery ticket went unclaimed in Georgia.
"Someone legitimately won this money and we want them to take it home," Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said in a news release. "But you must present the winning ticket to the lottery in order to claim the prize."
Few financial advisers would consider the $1 spent on the ticket to have been a wise investment. The buyer overcame 1 in 10.9 million odds to win, said Mary Neubauer, a spokeswoman for the state lottery. If the ticket is redeemed, the winner would owe 25% in federal taxes and 5% in state taxes, she said.
But the possibility of taxes and the absence of a ticket haven't deterred the hopeful from lining up - just in case. "We've been getting calls from the public all day long today," Neubauer said Wednesday night. "The closer that the deadline gets, the more people seem to be calling."
Some of the calls are from people who say they may have lost the ticket, or put it through a washing machine, she said. They are walked through a series of questions to de
What would I do with 16.5 million dollars? I would get in touch with the people responsible for handling our national debt and make a deal to contribute all 16.5 million dollars in exchange for a cottage in the mountains by a running stream and enough land to house a garden, animals to produce enough to support myself and those I love. Also in the contract with using the 16.5 million I would request to be tax exempt for life.
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