$3.3 million lottery ticket about to be forfeited

LYNNWOOD — There’s a millionaire out there who apparently doesn’t know it or is being awfully coy.

Someone bought a $3.3 million winning lottery ticket from a south Snohomish County business on March 25, but the prize has gone unclaimed.

The money — $1.7 million if taken in a lump sum or the $3.3 million if collected in annual payments over 20 years — will disappear Sept. 21. Winners have 180 days to claim prizes.

State lottery officials are urging people to check their glove boxes, purses and wallets to look for the ticket with the magic numbers.

“We know that there was only one winning ticket out there and the ticket was bought in Lynnwood,” lottery spokesman Arlen Harris said.

The name of the store isn’t being released because of security concerns, he said.

It’s unusual for winners to take so long to claim their bounty. Typically, they do so within a week of the drawing and after consulting an attorney or financial planner, Harris said.

The owner of the Lynnwood ticket could be pulling a Curtis Eldred.

Eldred was a cook from Yakima who soon realized he won a $3.4 million lottery drawing in May of 2009, but waited until that August to hand over his ticket. In the interim, he showed up to work. He hid the ticket in a sealed plastic bag that he placed under a floor mat in a storage shed in his back yard while he planned his retirement.

Sometimes, winning lottery tickets never get collected.

At any given time, roughly $6 million in lottery winnings, all the way down to $1 scratch tickets, goes unclaimed.

The last large prize that went uncollected was a Lotto ticket in April 2005 worth $1.2 million.

The largest prize in the history of Washington’s lottery to go unclaimed was also a Lotto ticket sold in October 1993. It was worth $6 million.

Two-thirds of the leftover prize money is pumped back into the state lottery.

The other third goes into a state account to support economic development. Gov. Jay Inslee tapped $150,000 from that account in May to promote businesses hurt by the collapse of the Skagit River bridge on I-5 in Mount Vernon.

The winning numbers on the Lynnwood ticket are 3-8-12-17-25-30.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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