NJ Winner credits news report for helping him locate forgotten ticket
Sixty-eight-year-old Jimmie Smith of East Orange, NJ has claimed the $24.1 million New York Lotto jackpot from the drawing held on May 25, 2016.
Smith and his much-sought-after ticket have been the subjects of a much-publicized search undertaken by the New York Lottery to locate the would-be Lotto millionaire on the verge of forfeiting the prize as the one-year deadline for claiming it approached.
Smith, a retired security officer, said a segment on the evening news alerted him to the Lottery’s efforts to find the mystery Lotto player. The broadcast inspired the Garden State resident to search a closet where he had hung an old, favorite shirt with a pocket full of unchecked tickets.
“I ended up with a stack; a pile of tickets, including the one they were talking about on the news,” said Smith, a father of two and grandfather of 12. “I stood there for a minute thinking, ‘Do I see what I think I see?’ I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air. I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real.”
The winning numbers for the May 25, 2016 New York Lotto drawing were: 05 – 12 – 13 – 22 – 25 – 35.
The ticket was purchased from Renu Sales at 158 Church St. in Tribeca.
Smith said he’s been buying tickets in New York City and in his home state since the 1960s, but has never been in a rush to check any of them. “I always told myself, ‘I’ll check them when I have the time.’”
Smith said he needed some time after finding the $24 million winner “to clear out some cob webs” before making the trip to the Lottery’s lower Manhattan Customer Service Center to claim the ticket.
Smith will receive his $24 million prize in laddered payments over 26 years.
He said after things settle down, he plans to have an “all-family discussion” about what to do with the windfall.
The New York Lottery contributed $1,303,190,660 in Lottery Aid To Education to school districts in the five boroughs during fiscal year 2016-2017.
About the New York Lottery
The New York Lottery continues to be North America’s largest and most profitable Lottery, contributing $3.27 billion in fiscal year 2016-2017 to help support education in New York State. The Lottery’s contribution represents approximately 14 percent of total state education aid to local school districts.
New York Lottery revenue is distributed to local school districts by the same statutory formula used to distribute other state aid to education. It takes into account both a school district’s size and its income level; larger, lower-income school districts receive proportionately larger shares of Lottery school funding.
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