LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Someone in the Southland just lost out on their chance to become a millionaire.
A $1 million winning Powerball ticket that was sold in Rosemead in September officially expired Sunday, resulting in the prize money being transferred to California public schools.
The winning ticket was purchased at Rosemead Supermarket, which received about $5,400 in prize money. The ticket matched the numbers 34, 6, 1, 53 and 16 and was only missing the Powerball number 27.
A mechanic at an El Monte auto repair shop reportedly attempted to claim the prize at the Lottery’s Santa Fe Springs District Office, but he was not in physical possession of the winning ticket, according to Lottery spokesman Russ Lopez.
That man was identified by CBS2’s Adrianna Weingold as Hung Nguyen, who works full-time to support his wife and 16-month-old baby.
“It’s unfortunate that we were not able to locate the winning ticket, as we always strive to connect winners with their prizes,” said Lopez. “It came down to the ticket, and the man who came forward claimed that the ticket was lost and he was unable to produce it.”
Weingold spoke with Nguyen through an interpreter, who said: “The moment he found out that he won, he was as happy as he can be.”
As Weingold reports, Nguyen didn’t find out the ticket was a winner until months after the drawing when he returned from a trip to Vietnam and saw his face on the news after lottery officials released a video posted on YouTube March 11 showing the winner.
He then realized he couldn’t find the ticket.
“When he came back, the supermarket clerk told him that he had won so he went home and tried to look for the ticket but he couldn’t find it. He looked in his car. His house. All over. He still couldn’t find it,” the interpreter said.
Weingold said Nguyen even tried going to the lottery office but, according to Powerball regulations, a prize can only be claimed if the winner presents the actual winning ticket.
California Lottery officials say winners should sign the back of their tickets in ink, keep it in a safe place and visit any of nine Lottery District Offices as soon as possible.