Massachusetts Lottery officials announced yesterday a $250,000 Mega Millions ticket sold at a market in Revere won't be honored because the winner waited too long to claim the prize — if he ever even realizes he won.
Meanwhile, callers to the Herald yesterday claimed that a Lowell adult bookstore owner was the mystery millionaire from a winning Jubilee 25 scratch ticket that has gone unredeemed.
The Herald reported yesterday that Lottery officials had launched an all-out search to discover the whereabouts of a winning $1 million scratch ticket jackpot before the grace period for cashing it in runs out.
Although he said he's holding a lucky ticket, Paul Dunigan Jr., co-owner of Tower News in Lowell, said he won $1 million on Pinball Wizard, but not in the $5 Jubilee 25 game Lottery officials are looking for.
"Somebody said my ticket is in the Herald, but I won $1 million in another game," Dunigan said of his windfall.
A delighted Dunigan said he's waiting to cash in until early next month so he can kick off the next 20 new years with a $35,000 annual check in the mail, his approximate winnings after taxes.
"I'm going to put $30,000 aside each year and in 10 years I'll be good," said Dunigan, who runs a Lowell mini-mart and adult peep show, magazine and sex-toy shop with his mom.
The Lottery has not discussed the matter with Dunigan yet.
The Mega Millions case in Revere, meanwhile, is a glaring example of the $12 million in winnings careless Lottery players are leaving on the table each year.
Lottery spokesman Dan Rosenfeld said a computer search yesterday pinpointed the $250,000 Mega Millions ticket was sold on Jan. 10, 2006, at the Ankor Watt Market in Revere. And, he added, it has "now expired."
"Oh my God," said Vanna Prak, a clerk at the Revere market. "Somebody was lucky and they didn't even know it."
Rosenfeld said the Lottery fielded a few calls yesterday on the wayward Jubilee 25 winner, but nobody surfaced with proof they are due the prize.
The Lottery has launched a rare "reconstruction" to trace what happened to the ticket from the now-defunct Jubilee 25 game. Officials are also trying to find out why a $20,000 payoff from a $2 Diamond scratch ticket was not claimed.