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Time running out to claim jackpot on winning lotto ticket

By Staff | Feb 3, 2009

Someone is holding the winning ticket, but if they do not cash it by Feb. 11, they stand to lose a lot of money.
A winning Fantasy 5 lotto ticket was sold Aug. 14 at the Publix on Cape Coral Parkway.
The fact that the prize — valued at $67,527.09 — is unclaimed was discovered by Mark La Voy of the Mesa, Ariz., based Web site: unclaimedlotterys.com.
La Voy started his Web site just over a year ago, when he discovered his own unclaimed prize of $1,800 in the Powerball game.
“Once we looked into it, we just couldn’t believe how much of it was unclaimed,” La Voy said. “The lottery doesn’t make any attempt to find the ticket and the owner.”
The $67,000 is only part of the more than $1.5 million unclaimed Fantasy 5 prizes still hanging in limbo, as winning tickets are scattered across the state.
According to Florida Lottery representatives, $50.18 million has gone unclaimed between June 1, 2004, and July 31, 2008. That amount includes scratch-off tickets and online games.
Florida Lottery’s Amanda Marquardt confirmed that the ticket has not been claimed, and that a portion of the unclaimed monies are recycled into a state education fund.
“Winning ticket holders have 180 days to claim their prize from the date the numbers were drawn,” Marquardt said. “And 80 percent of any money that goes unclaimed goes to the education enhancement trust fund.”
While the amount of unclaimed winnings varies from year to year, the $50 million figure is the average over the lottery’s four-year fiscal period.
Whether the $67,000 will add to that colossal unclaimed amount has yet to be decided, but time is quickly vanishing.
La Voy speculates that most people do not check their tickets if a jackpot has been claimed. Lesser amounts tend to fall by the wayside.
In his company’s year of operation, La Voy said he has helped people discover “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in unclaimed prizes, reaching out to 29 different states in the process.
He added that the number of unclaimed prizes in Florida is “huge.”
“It happens so much, that’s why we started the site,” La Voy said. “For some reason people aren’t checking the Fantasy 5 game. They need to be more aware. It’s a lot of money.”
The ticket’s winning numbers are 4-10-21-28-33.
Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patton declined to comment on the sale of the lottery ticket.
Visit: www.unclaimedlotterys.com for more information on unclaimed lottery prizes.