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Calif. Mega Millions Lottery Winner Still Hasn’t Claimed Prize

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SACRASACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — While the identity of the person who purchased one of two Mega Millions lottery winning tickets is a mystery, lottery officials said Friday that big prize winners often delay coming forward until after getting advice.

The California Lottery said Friday that the winning ticket holder who purchased it at a gift shop in San Jose had not come forward.

The jackpot is now revised up to $648 million. The name of a second winner in Georgia has already been announced.

Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso says the winner has a year to claim the money, and that it’s common for people to want to have a plan before handling newfound wealth and attention.

“It’s fairly common in cases like this that they’ve hired financial representation and an attorney so they come forward with a plan of action,” Traverso said.

The jackpot comes to a total of $324 million per winner, or a $173.8 million lump sum before taxes.

“That’s not a check you can just walk to the local credit union and plug into the ATM,” Traverso said.

Of course, it’s also common for people to have misplaced the ticket or simply have forgotten about it.

If months go by with no claimant, Traverso said officials will identify the time the ticket was purchased and use surveillance cameras to try and get an image that can be released publicly.

Lottery officials say they have a pretty good record of tracking people down.

In one case in Bakersfield, a winner had forgotten about a ticket that was worth $23 million dollars.

Traverso said the person saw their picture in the local paper, and remembered they’d left the winning ticket in the door pocket of their car.

The ticket had been set to expire in three weeks.

“That person came right in and claimed their $23 million,” Traverso said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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