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Woman Claims She Won $26 Million On The Lottery But The Ticket Got Destroyed In The Wash

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A Los Angeles woman claims that she won $26 million on the lottery but that the ticket was destroyed in the wash. Esperanza Hernandez, who works at the Arco AM/PM store in the Norwalk neighborhood where the ticket was sold, told the Whittier Daily News that she’d accidentally left the ticket in her pants but put them in the laundry, which ruined it – and her proof of winning.

California Lottery officials are looking into the claim. The store’s manager told KTLA-TV that the woman is known to employees at the store as she shops there often and that there’s video proof of the woman who purchased the winning ticket on November 14, 2020. However, Thursday, May 13, 2021 was the last day to claim it and no one did.

Winners have to submit a claim form for the lottery. Anyone who believes they’re a lottery winner has to complete an official form. However,  Lottery spokeswoman Cathy Johnston said that the person must have proof that they’re the owner of the winning ticket either by presenting the ticket itself or a photo of the front and back of it.

That’s a lot of money to lose out on. The winning numbers were 23, 36, 12, 31, 13 and the winner could take the $26 million prize in annual installments or as a $19.7 million cash option. However, if the woman in question cannot prove the ticket is hers and that she’s the rightful winner, the $19.7 million will be donated to California schools. Meanwhile, the store that sold the tickets will be awarded $130,000.

Not many big jackpots go unclaimed. Since 1997, only four lottery prizes of $20 million or more have gone unclaimed, which shows just how uncommon it is. Here’s hoping if this woman is the rightful winner, she finds a way to prove it. However, it doesn’t seem likely.

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