Jackpot Winner Is Warning Others After A Technicality Almost Cost Him $24 Million

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"Someone is missing $24 million," the ad read, " check your tickets."

It's usually pretty easy to track down a big jackpot winner.NYDN

The New York Lotto paid for the commercial after finding themselves in a surprising situation. In May 2016 someone bought a ticket at a New York bodega and picked all six of the lucky numbers. That meant they had won a $24.1 million jackpot. But almost a year after the draw no one had stepped forward.

The New York Gaming Comission's Lottery Division head, Gweneth Dean, had to make a surprising plea to lotto players before the winning ticket was set to expire: "We urge New York Lottery players: Check your pockets. Check your glove box. Look under the couch cushions. If you have this winning ticket, we look forward to meeting you."

That's when retired security officer Jimmie Smith decided to check his old lottery tickets. The 68-year-old grandfather had noticed the ads and news stories about the big jackpot, and started to wonder if he could be the winner. It's lucky he did, because Smith had bought the winning ticket, and almost lost his prize...

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