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A Year Later, Unclaimed Prize in Lottery is Returned to Rhode Island State

28 April 2002

Rhode Island -- April 26, 2002 -- As reported by the Boston Globe: ``The money was set aside. A reception had been prepared. Even a check was written - one of those giant cardboard ones made for handing over in front of TV cameras.

``Trouble is, there was no one to receive it.

``Somebody - no one knows who - bought a Megabucks lottery ticket one year ago at a lonely highway pit stop near the Rhode Island border and never claimed the $4.6 million prize. At 5 p.m. yesterday, after a frantic, last-minute search by state lottery officials that included everything ''short of running naked through the streets,'' the deadline for redeeming the ticket expired, said state Treasurer Shannon O'Brien.

``Now the ticket, wherever it may be, is worthless.

```You just wonder what happened,' O'Brien said wistfully yesterday. `Did they lose the ticket before they could turn it in? Did they pass away? We did everything we could think of to do to get the word out.'

``With no one to take home the biggest unclaimed lottery jackpot in Massachusetts history, it will be placed in a state unclaimed funds account, and at least $2 million of it will go as a bonus to cities and towns that get state lottery funds, O'Brien said.

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