By Kate Northrop
DORCHESTER, Mass. — A $500,000 Powerball prize almost went by the wayside, but thankfully the rightful winner from Massachusetts stepped up to claim it just one day before it was due to expire.
Leonard Thomas of South Dennis won $500,000 in a Powerball drawing that took place on Aug. 19, 2020, but he didn't even realize it.
Luckily, he had the ticket tucked away in a safe spot, albeit for nearly a full year, after buying it at the Mobil gas station on Route 134 in South Dennis.
"I heard about a Powerball ticket expiring on the radio and then my nephew told me," Thomas told the Massachusetts Lottery. "I play at that store and have a plastic sleeve that I keep my tickets in. When I heard about the expiring ticket, I looked through the tickets in the sleeve and found a Powerball ticket from August 19, 2020. I had it scanned at a convenience store and the clerk indicated that I had to go to the Lottery to claim the prize."
Thomas, along with his dog Mariah, visited Lottery headquarters in Dorchester on Wednesday to claim his $500,000 Powerball prize right before the deadline.
"What a great reminder to our lottery customers!" State Treasurer and Massachusetts State Lottery Commission Chair Deborah B. Goldberg said in a press release. "We are thrilled that Leonard, and his dog Mariah, saw the announcement about the expiring ticket and were able to cash it in!"
The retailer received a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket, which was a Quick Pick that matched four of the first five numbers plus the Powerball. His purchase included the Power Play option, and since the Power Play multiplier in the drawing was 10X, his $50,000 prize turned out to be $500,000 before taxes.
The winning numbers for the drawing on Aug. 19, 2020 were 13, 23, 47, 55, and 58 with Powerball 23.
The Lottery reminded players that Powerball and other draw game prize winners have one year from the date of the drawing to claim prizes, and that expired lottery prizes become part of the net profit that the Lottery returns to the Commonwealth for distribution to all 351 cities and towns.
Powerball tickets cost $2 per play, except in Idaho, which will include Power Play with every ticket sold, bringing the total price in that state to $3 per play.