A $63 million lotto jackpot became the largest prize to go unclaimed in California Lottery history after no player came forward to claim it by Thursday, lottery officials said.
But a man who says he purchased the winning ticket and had his claim rejected by the California Lottery believes the money belongs to him, filing a lawsuit Wednesday alleging he is being wrongfully denied the jackpot, according to City News Service.
In a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, Brandy Milliner claims he presented the winning ticket to the Lottery Commission and was given a form congratulating him on his winnings, CNS reported.
Local news from across Southern California
However, in January, Milliner received a letter from the commission stating that after a review of his ticket, the agency determined it to be "too damaged to be reconstructed," the suit states.
California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said as of Wednesday afternoon the agency had not been served the lawsuit, had not been contacted by MiIliner's lawyers and were looking into the claim.
"We’re not able to find anything," Traverso said. "Ordinarily that information isn’t difficult to find."
Milliner's attorneys did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
It's been nearly half a year since the winning SuperLotto Plus ticket was sold at a Chatsworth 7-Eleven, and lottery officials put out a last call warning that the deadline to collect was 5 p.m. Thursday.
"A California Lottery player is now mere hours away from forfeiting a fortune," the California Lottery said in a news release Wednesday. "To date, no one has come forward to claim this jackpot-winning ticket and is now alarmingly close to losing it all!"
Lottery officials say the prize is the largest to go unclaimed since a $28.5 million-winning ticket sold in the Northern California city of San Lorenzo in 2013.
If the winner had come forward, they could have chosen a lump sum of $39.9 million before federal taxes or the $63 million spread out over 30 years.
"This is a good reminder for everyone to always sign the back of your tickets in ink as soon as you buy them and keep your tickets in a safe place," the news release said. "You never know if one is going to hit and you want to avoid a situation like this."
Prizes that are forfeited go to support California schools, lottery officials say.