A lucky man who scooped USD 3 million on the lottery on his birthday had carried the winning ticket in his pocket for a month without being aware he had hit big.
Lucky J. Refugio Gonzalez Almeida from the state of Utah, USA, had reportedly found out about the grand win a month after he bought the ticket at a retailer in Malad City, Idaho State.
Almeida said he returned to the neighbouring state for a second shot after he initially missed the USD 400 million (GBP 315 million) Mega Millions jackpot draw in early July.
He said in a statement obtained by Newsflash from Idaho Lottery: “Playing the Lottery is my hobby. When I didn’t win the jackpot on that Friday, I thought ‘I need a ticket for the 4th of July,’ so I drove back to Malad on Saturday.
“I bought all the games, including Mega Millions. I had a lot tickets.”
But he was reportedly unaware that he had matched the first five numbers and the multiplier feature on the Fourth of July drawing – and coincidently his birthday – for a USD 3 million (GBP 2,3 million) prize.
Almeida recalled how the clerk checked his tickets when he returned to Malad City a month after the drawing, and added: “I had USD 2 [GBP 1.6], USD 8 [GBP 6.3], not a lot.
“And then they scanned this one and told me I had to take it to the Lottery Commission. So here I am!”
The lucky man collected the prize at lottery headquarters in the city of Boise, on Friday, 11th August.
When asked about how he plans to spend the money, he said: “I am taking this right to the bank and depositing it!”
Idaho Lottery officials said: “The Mega Millions jackpot eventually climbed to a game record USD 1.58 billion [GBP 1.24 billion] this past Tuesday evening.
“Since July 1, Mega Millions generated approximately USD 3 million [GBP 2.3 million] for the Idaho Lottery’s beneficiaries, Idaho public schools and buildings.”