2/20/10 – Lori and Eric White of Indianapolis had a close call this week when they almost missed out on a lottery win of $2.5 million – finding and claiming on the ticket just one week before the expiry date of the prize.
Eric White didn't realise he'd left the $2.5 million winning Hoosier Lotto ticket sitting on the desk in the study of his Indianapolis home for six months.
On Friday, he and his wife, Lori, cashed in; beating the odds by turning in the winning ticket a week after lottery officials said the prize wouldn't be awarded because the 180-day deadline had passed.
Officials extended the deadline to February 22 after discovering the expiration date had been miscalculated.
After watching television news of the expiry date, Lori White (38) said she sent her husband a text message Tuesday night asking if he had any old lottery tickets. But it took another two days before he got around to carrying out a search and found the winning ticket along with others.
"They were in a pile of books on the desk," said 39-year-old Eric White. Friday morning, the couple consulted a financial adviser and went to the lottery's office to verify they had the winning ticket, bearing numbers 4-5-17-30-38-43.
Hoosier Lottery spokeswoman Lucia Anderson said no Indiana winner has ever stepped forward so late to claim a large prize. The couple received a check for about $697 000 after taxes.
If the Whites hadn't come forward, it wouldn't have been the largest unclaimed prize. Hoosier Lottery spokesman Andrew Reed said a $5 million Hoosier Lotto jackpot went unclaimed in March 2004, and no winner stepped forward in September 2002 to claim their $50 million Powerball jackpot.
In 2007, a $19 million New Jersey Lottery prize wasn't claimed. Florida's largest unclaimed payout was a $50 million Lotto ticket sold in 2003, and no one produced a winning $7 million Lotto Texas ticket last year.