Hank Investigates: Unclaimed Lottery Prizes

How does a big lottery winner become a big loser? You won’t believe how much Massachusetts lottery cash Hank Phillippi Ryan was found was left unclaimed. Why didn’t the winners know it? Might some of it be yours?  Because of Hank’s investigation, changes are now in the works— and you may just luck out. 7 Investigates.

(WHDH) — The Mass Cash balls circled the wheel last October, and tumbled out one by one. Whoever chose these numbers won $100,000!

Donald Fowler, Assistant Store Manager, Stop & Shop, Danvers, MA: “That’s big money.”

Someone bought that ticket at this Leominster store! Was it you? I sure hope not. Whoever did lost the money, because they missed the one-year deadline to claim it.

Lottery player: “That’s a lot of money.”

This cashier probably sold the ticket.

Corinne Marigliano, Bourbeau’s Market, Leominster, MA: “There’s so much that can be done with 100,000!”

The Lottery knows exactly when and where big Mass Cash winners like that were sold and when the tickets expire.

But If people don’t cash in on the winning numbers they chose, the state is the winner: 12 million dollars in draw games went unclaimed in 2016 alone.

Hank: “Someone might say, come on you just want to keep the money?”

Michael Sweeney, Executive Director, Massachusetts State Lottery: “No, that’s not true.”

The Lottery told us they do publicize unclaimed prizes when they’re one million dollars or more. But as the expiration date for that Leominster  $100,000 ticket drew nearer, we found nothing on The Lottery website, nothing on their social media, not even in the store where the ticket was purchased. So the prize vanished.

Hank: “Do I actually have to tell you to cash in your winning lottery tickets? Apparently so!”

Our Investigation found there’s two $100,000 winning tickets sold at this store in Waltham still waiting to be claimed. And several were sold at this store in Randolph. A whole list of places for Mass Cash alone. These people picked the right numbers. Do they know they won big prizes? After we started asking questions they’ll have a better chance.

Sweeney: “This one’s a no brainer for me.”

Hank: “But we called you, and that’s why you made this decision?”

Sweeney: “Absolutely. No doubt about it.”

Effective immediately, The Lottery says, when a prize that’s a $100,000 or more is two months from expiring, they’ll notify the place where the ticket was sold. And here’s the exclusive first look at the “winners wanted” poster they’ll hand out. They’ll also highlight it on The Lottery’s website and social media.

Hank: “And you’ll call me too?”

Sweeney: “Absolutely you’ll be the first we call.”

At 30 days from expiration, they’ll do another round of publicity, and another one the week before!

Because The Lottery insists, they’re truly eager for winners to claim their cash.

Sweeney: “When those kinds of issues are raised, we’re not going to run away, were going to examine the issue and say, ‘You know you’re right, we can be doing a better job here,’ and we’re going to.”

And if you’re wondering: Isn’t $50,000 worth publicizing? Isn’t  $10,000 dollars? That’s exactly what I asked, too. And The Lottery agrees, the director told me, that’s the next step they’re exploring.

To check to see if you may be holding a winning ticket, go to the Massachusetts Lottery’s home page:


The Lottery sent us this list on 1-7-18 showing the most recent unclaimed winning lottery tickets and where they were sold:


Date of Draw Game Agent Location (number of tickets) City/Town Prize
9/24/2017 Mass Cash Ray’s Smoke Shop Swansea $100,000
9/29/2017 Mass Cash Kristina’s Variety (2) Waltham $100,000
10/2/2017 Mass Cash Market Basket Haverhill $100,000
10/21/2017 Mass Cash Colbea N. Attleboro $100,000
11/10/2017 Mass Cash The Tavern (3) Wrentham $100,000
11/19/2017 Mass Cash Shaw’s Supermarket (11) Randolph $100,000
11/24/2017 Mass Cash 7-Eleven (2) Easton $100,000
11/24/2017 Mass Cash Sunshine Tobacco Store S. Easton $100,000
12/9/2017 Mass Cash Stop & Shop Brockton $100,000
12/23/2017 Mass Cash Hannaford Middleboro $100,000
12/27/2017 Mass Cash Sandwich Food Store Sandwich $100,000
1/5/2018 Mega Millions The Picket Fence Restaurant Douglas $1,000,000



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