New York man discovers $24 million lottery ticket in the nick of time

  • Winning ticket was due to expire in just 48 hours
  • Man uncovered the ticket in an old shirt pocket

Stories of lottery winners who fail to step forward before the statute for collecting their millions expires are commonplace. It’s seemingly all too easy to purchase a ticket and then forget about it for weeks, months or possibly even years, by which time the collection period has expired.

New York Lottery Winner
Image (l): New York Lottery

This particular tale is one that ends happily however for the New York man who lost and then found a $24.1 winning ticket in the nick of time. With just 48 hours to go, the man uncovered the winning brief in an old shirt pocket, where it was languishing with a bunch of other lotto tickets.

Newfound riches

Now, 68-year-old Jimmie Smith is contemplating what to do with his newfound riches, having embarked on the search only after the New York Lottery urged players to check through their possessions for the missing ticket.

Smith, it transpired, had matched all six lotto numbers plus the bonus ball, resulting in the bumper jackpot prize. The grandfather of 12 has sensibly elected to have his fortune paid out over a 26-year period rather than plump for a single lump sum.

Check ‘em

Officials at New York Lottery can’t be accused of not trying to track down the multi-millionaire-in-waiting: the state lottery embarked on a PR campaign back in May, releasing a statement in which Director of Communications Gweneth Dean urged: “Check your pockets. Check your glove box. Look under the couch cushions.”

Jimmie Smith duly urged the exhortation, unearthing the winning ticket days before it was due to expire and the rest, as they say, is history. Months later and news of the 68-year-old’s remarkable discovery has just been announced as he’s officially been handed his first cheque by the state lotto.

Smith can count himself one of the lucky ones, not just in terms of choosing a string of correct numbers in the first place, but then retrieving his ticket before the one-year collection period expired. Other winners haven’t been so lucky including a $31 million winner from New York and a $77 million Powerball winner, both of whom never stepped forward to claim what they were entitled to.

With two grown children and 12 grandchildren, Jimmie Smith has got plenty of mouths to feed with his newly awarded winnings. Even so, making ends meet is a problem he shouldn’t have to face for the rest of his life. Recalling the moment he discovered the ticket, the 68-year-old said: “I always told myself, I’ll check when I have the time…I stood there 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.”

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