Lottery winner has some advice for those hoarding unchecked tickets
By Kate Northrop
ADEL, Iowa — It pays to check your lottery tickets, as one Iowa man walked around with a winning Lucky for Life ticket worth $25,000 a year for life in his wallet for a couple weeks before realizing its value.
Michael "Micky" Pietz, 37, of Adel, was in good spirits after checking the unassuming lottery tickets that had been sitting in his wallet and finding that one of them was a big winner.
In the mood to buy some more lottery tickets, Pietz surmised that it was a good time to check his tickets to see if they could fund his next plays.
"I happened to check the ticket, I had a few of them in my wallet, figured it was time to check them to see if I had enough to buy a couple more," Pietz laughed. "I ended up with a little bit more than that."
He was checking the tickets with a self-checker machine at a local retailer but didn't notice the unusually large amount that the terminal displayed in front of him.
"I was talking with the clerk and not overly paying attention," he told the Iowa Lottery. "I scanned it and he's like, 'Wait a minute, what did that say?' And I said, 'I don't know, probably something like $10.' And I scanned it again and I thought, 'That can't be right.' And I scanned it again and then I had him scan it."
It was not enough to convince him. Pietz went home and asked his wife to check the ticket herself, but the result was always the same — $25,000 a year for life.
"I still didn't quite think it was real," he remarked.
Regardless of whether he believed it, the ticket won the second prize in the Lucky for Life drawing on Oct. 13, which produced the winning numbers 13, 16, 18, 23, 33 and Lucky Ball 17. Pietz matched the first five numbers but missed the Lucky Ball, beating the game's odds of 1 in 1,813,028 to take the game's second prize. Had he matched the Lucky Ball, he would have won $1,000 a day for life.
According to the Lottery, he is the 12th big winner in the game since it debuted in the state in January 2016.
Pietz took a trip to Lottery headquarters in Clive on Thursday to claim his prize and opted for the lump sum payment of $390,000.
The winner, who works in the gas and utilities industry, says he and his wife plan on using the winnings to pay off debt, invest for their future, and establish educational accounts for their four children.
Back when he bought the winning ticket at the Kum & Go on Nile Kinnick Drive South in Adel, Pietz didn't believe he would ever win big.
"Maybe a couple hundred here, or something like that," he said in a press release. "Nothing more than a thousand. I definitely did not expect this."
The retailer that sold the winning ticket will receive a $500 bonus from the Lottery.
For other lottery winners-to-be checking their own tickets, he offered some words of wisdom.
"Pay attention to them," Pietz smiled.
Lucky for Life drawings take place every day at 10:38 pm EST. At $2 a play, players choose five numbers from 1 to 48 for white balls and one number from 1 to 18 for the Lucky Ball. Prizes and odds for the game can be viewed on the Lucky for Life Prizes and Odds page.