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Virginia woman claims $3 million lottery prize just before expiration

By Ben Hooper
Virginia woman claims $3 million lottery prize just before expiration
A Virginia woman said she didn't know she had a $3 million winning lottery ticket until a month after the drawing, and she held onto the ticket for several more months before claiming her prize. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Lottery

March 5 (UPI) -- A Virginia Lottery winner who claimed her $3 million prize just before the ticket was due to expire said she didn't even know she had won until a month after the drawing.

Ina H. Fernandez told Virginia Lottery officials she bought a Mega Millions ticket for the Sept. 5 drawing at Giant Food in Sterling, but she didn't find out it was a winner until she checked the numbers a month later.

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Fernandez's ticket matched the first five numbers, 11-17-59-70-72, but not the Mega Ball number, 1. She paid an extra dollar for the Megaplier option, which boosted her jackpot from $1 million to $3 million.

Fernandez said the ticket spent months in her purse and she didn't even tell her husband about the win until two months after she found out herself. She said she only decided to claim the prize when the Virginia Lottery announced the ticket was due to expire Monday.

She ended up claiming the ticket with only days to spare.

Fernandez offered an explanation for why she took everything slowly in claiming her winnings: "I just wanted to think about it and take care of our finances."

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