Four days before Christmas, two people got the perfect gift: a winning Fantasy 5 ticket.
But only one of them has claimed their $124,793.13 jackpot. And the other winner better act fast.
Come Monday, the small fortune will disappear if the person who bought the ticket doesn’t step forward.
If no one collects the winnings, the prize money will go toward education and lottery promotions.
“To go almost six months, we hope that the ticket hasn’t been misplaced simply because the person forgot about it,” said Shelly Safford, senior public affairs specialist with the Florida Lottery. “We’d hate for them to find it on the 181st day.”
For those who play, the ones who revel in their this-one-is-the-one thrills, the thought of letting more than a $100,000 slip away may seem absurd, but this isn’t the first time winning lottery tickets have been forgotten in cluttered purses and messy gloveboxes. Last fiscal year, $55 million worth of lottery winnings went uncollected, most of them much smaller — 5 or 10 bucks — than the $124,000 prize, Safford said.
The Dec. 21 Fantasy 5 drawing produced these numbers: 01-03-07-20-29. Sometimes the top five-number prize is split among several people. Sometimes, no one picks the winning combination and the winnings roll down to those who have four numbers right.
Christmas came early for Arline Huffman of Jensen Beach, who collected the winnings the next day. But the 180-day grace period is coming to a swift close for the winner who bought a ticket at Marathon Food Center, 1695 NW 183rd St. in Miami-Dade.
After all, $124,793.13 can buy a lot of things, like a few courtside tickets for the NBA Finals, two years of out-of-state college tuition or roughly 12,479 movie tickets — before taxes, of course.