A mystery Powerball player who is due $1 million in winnings has only hours left to collect their prize.
The ticket was bought in Westchester, New York, last year but it still remains unclaimed. If the owner of the lucky numbers doesn’t come forward by Sunday, the money will return into the system.
Lottery officials are now encouraging all players to check their tickets for the combination 1-6-7-20-49 and Powerball 23.
“We’re hopeful the lucky winner has already signed the ticket and is making plans to claim it before it’s too late,” Gardner Gurney, acting director of the Division of the Lottery told CNN.
The ticket was bought at the Playland Market in Rye on August 25, 2012. Ralph Alfalahi, who works at the store, told USA Today: “I have no idea who it is. I wish I knew.”
Ralph Alfalahi has even put a sign outside the deli reminding customers and passersby of the winning numbers from nearly a year ago.
Meanwhile, lottery officials are also trying to find the winner – before it’s too late. The $1 million will go into a shared pool for future winners if it is not picked up by Sunday.
“We use the news media, social media and any other means possible to publicize the fact that it hasn’t been claimed yet and encourage players to check their tickets,” New York Lottery spokeswoman Christy Calicchia said.
The winner has to hand the lucky ticket in at a lottery service center or can post it in. As long as the mail is postmarked August 25 it will be valid for the prize.
Christy Calicchia said that the commission will be monitoring the post for last-minute claims. After federal and state taxes, this prize would amount to an estimated take-home $662,000.
Unclaimed prizes are more common than you might think. Last year there was $65 million in expired winnings in New York State alone.
In 2002, a single prize of $68 million went unclaimed in Brooklyn, the largest missed winnings in the state.
Christy Calicchia explained that lottery prizes are not picked up for a number of reasons, including tickets lost or destroyed in the wash.
The spokeswoman told CNN that players sometimes simply don’t realize that they have won.
“Most people don’t realize that there is more than one prize in the lottery drawing,” she said.