Theories are swirling around one community in South Carolina and beyond several months after a Mega Millions lottery ticket valued at a whopping $1.5 billion was sold at a Simpsonville convenience store.
According to WFLA, someone bought the lucky numbers at a KC Mart in October but the jackpot has yet to be claimed. If the rightful winner doesn’t come forward within the next two months, he or she could miss out on the entire fortune.
April 19 — at 5 p.m., to be exact — marks the deadline by which state lottery officials need to receive the ticket in order for the second-highest jackpot in the nation’s history to be paid out.
Staff at the convenience store said they were kept out of the loop almost immediately by state authorities who arrived soon after the drawing was held announcing the winning numbers.
“We didn’t even know we sold the winner yet,” said staff member Jee Patel, adding that police took the store’s surveillance footage with them.
“We haven’t seen them,” Patel said. “I don’t know when we sold it or who we sold it to.”
The mystery is fueling speculation, with some arguing the ticket was lost and others who think the winner must have died. Still, there are those who believe the lucky man or woman is playing it cool and will swoop in to collect the spoils before time runs out.
As the local scuttlebutt continues, some express confusion over the Mega Millions rules regarding unclaimed jackpots. Under existing rules, the massive amount would be divided among the 44 states — along with D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands — participating in the Mega Millions drawing.
“What I don’t understand is why does the money have to go back?” asked Chris Watson to a local reporter at the KC Mart. “Why can’t they just use it for another jackpot?”
Others are living with a fear that they might be missing out on the massive payment.
“I know I checked every ticket I bought,” said Christian Porchak of his efforts to win the big jackpot. “But there’s that nagging feeling that maybe I didn’t check every one.”
Prior to this drawing, the biggest Mega Millions jackpot to ever go unclaimed was a $68 million ticket sold in 2002.
[Featured image: AP Photo/Amy Sancetta]