Sitting on a Fortune: Contractor Unknowingly Drove Around For Weeks as Millionaire

200A contractor from North Carolina drove around for weeks as a millionaire without a single clue.

James Lampi Jr. bought a $200 Million Blowout ticket back in June, and left it in his truck. Though he knew he’d won at least something with the ticket, he had no clue how much until he stopped at a lottery retailer to have the ticket scanned.

“That ticket had lived in the console of my truck for almost a month,” said Lampi. “I knew I’d won something, but I figured it was just $20 like I normally win. I didn’t even scratch off the prize amount.”

But when the clerk told him that he had to claim his prize at the lottery office, he knew something was up. Turned out he’d been driving around with a $4 million lottery ticket just sitting there in his truck.

Lottery winners have the choice of receiving their lottery payments as a lump sum payout, or an annuity. Lampi chose the former, and received $1,662,006 after state and federal withholdings.

Had Lampi continued to wait to cash his ticket in, he might have had the unfortunate fate that’s befallen a few lottery winners. He would have lost out on his winnings, as most lotteries put an expiration date on their tickets.

Take the case of British couple Martyn and Kay Tott. They hit the jackpot, but lost their winning ticket. They called in to claim their prize, correctly stating where the store that’d sold the ticket, and the time of its purchase. An investigation was launched to determine whether or not they’d actually won, and found that they had indeed purchased the ticket. The only problem was that the investigation had taken too long, and the ticket had expired. They couldn’t claim their prize.

“Thinking you’re going to have all that money is really liberating. Having it taken away has the opposite effect,” said Kay Tott. “It drains the life from you and puts a terrible strain on your marriage. It was the cruelest torture imaginable.”

As for lucky Lampi, he said he was going to use his new fortune to make a few investments, donate some of his new fortune to charity, and “chill out at the beach for a while.”