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U.S. Marine Corps veteran wins the lottery on Veteran's Day

Nov 13, 2020, 4:41 pm

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North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: U.S. Marine Corps veteran wins the lottery on Veteran's DayRating:

Combat engineer scoops up the final top prize in North Carolina instant game

By Kate Northrop

CRESWELL, N.C. — A veteran from Creswell, North Carolina was not even in the state when he found out he won a $1 million prize from a scratch-off lottery ticket. In fact, he completely forgot that he bought them in the first place, only to discover the winning ticket right before his return flight home to North Carolina from Colorado.

Yaheem Jones, formerly a combat engineer in the U.S. Marine Corps, got the biggest surprise on Veteran's Day when he found out he was carrying around a bunch of scratch-off tickets, not knowing that one of them was a winner for a $1 million prize.

"I bought the tickets before I left for Denver and just threw them in my book bag," he explained to the North Carolina Lottery. "I flew all the way to Denver with them and everything, and I didn't even know I was a winner until a couple of days later."

He purchased a variety of instant games from the Marks Supermarket on US-64 in Creswell before his trip to Colorado. The most lucrative ticket turned out to be from the $10 "Red Hot Riches" game, which the Lottery will now begin to retire since Jones won the fourth and final top prize. The game was launched in May of this year.

In a press release, Jones told the Lottery that he was cleaning out his bag before his return flight home and rediscovered the scratch-off tickets he had initially thrown in it.

"I had the flight pass, my itinerary, my checked bag passes, and I see the tickets," he recounted.

Scratching them off one-by-one, it finally came down to the "Red Hot Riches" game.

"At first, I didn't believe it," Jones said. "I thought it was a joke."

He recalled that the flight back to North Carolina was the most "nerve-wracking" trip home, knowing that he literally held $1 million in his pocket the entire time.

"I didn't take my hand out of my pocket," he laughed. "Not one whole time!"

Jones was able to breathe a sigh of relief when he claimed his prize at Lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Tuesday. He was given two choices — take the $1 million as an annuity of 20 annual payments of $50,000 or a lump sum worth $600,000. Deciding on the lump sum, he scored $424,503 after state and federal taxes.

The U.S. Marine Corps veteran plans to put most of the prize money into his savings, remarking that the winnings earned on Veteran's Day will certainly "help a lot."

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5 comments. Last comment 9 months ago by Vergie6.
Page 1 of 1
Droptop209's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
Newman, California
United States
Member #193980
November 24, 2018
37 Posts

Congrats on the win soldier.  Thank you for you're service

    United States
    Member #163182
    January 22, 2015
    2637 Posts

    A great feel good story, traversing 1/2 way across the country with a million dollar ticket in tow.   


    Unlike some states, it is refreshing they will retire Red Hot Riches since all four top prizes have been won.


    From a Soldier to a Marine I salute you.

      sully16's avatar - sharan
      Dr.President Elect
      United States
      Member #81738
      October 28, 2009
      87983 Posts

      Great story! Congrats to the lucky guy, Enjoy!  Party

       US Flag

        increase's avatar - cerulean 00010148.jpg
        United States
        Member #54826
        August 31, 2007
        61749 Posts

        Woohoo!  Great Story...Excellent win!!!

        I am a millionaire!

          Vergie6's avatar - DSCN4488
          North Carolina
          United States
          Member #59853
          March 29, 2008
          52218 Posts

          Sure am glad he didn't lose it on the way there & back!

          Glad to see a veteran win that much!Drum


          George Micheal is singing in heaven now & the angels are cheering him on!