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After 31 Years New York Woman Admits She Accidentally Threw Away $12 Million; Here’s What Happened

Janet Valenti wanted to get the money as anybody would but the unfortunate fate of the ticket barred her from claiming the money for thirty-one years. 
PUBLISHED MAY 27, 2024
Cover Image Source: Woman did not claim her $12 million lottery money for 31 years (representative image) | Unsplash | Photo by Erik Mclean
Cover Image Source: Woman did not claim her $12 million lottery money for 31 years (representative image) | Unsplash | Photo by Erik Mclean

After three decades of waiting, a woman from New York has stepped forward to share with local lottery officials that she was the person who never claimed $12 million from a 1991 Lotto jackpot. This news comes as a shock in a world full of people looking to earn more to lead the comfortable lives they dream of. Janet Valenti, 77, revealed she was the rightful owner of a $12 million New York Lotto jackpot that sat unclaimed for more than 30 years. Valenti wanted to get the money as anybody would. However, the unfortunate fate of the ticket barred her from claiming the money for thirty-one years. She says that she has won the ticket sitting on an end table next to her couch, among other lottery tickets, according to the lottery post. She believed she had checked all the tickets on the table, and thrown them in the trash before leaving the house with her kids to spend the weekend at a friend's house.



Over the weekend, she was unaware she had tossed the winning ticket in the trash. When she returned, a friend informed her of a winning $12 million Lotto ticket sold in Staten Island. She soon discovered she had won after seeing the winning numbers in the newspaper. Upon arriving home, she rushed to retrieve the ticket from the garage but could not find it.

"My next-door neighbor, who has never in her life, the whole time I lived there, ever put my garbage out for collection, she did," Valenti told the Staten Island Advance. This meant she could not scour through the trash as it had already been picked up.



"I was a wreck," Valenti recalled to the Staten Island Advance. "I was sick for a long time over it."

On July 17, 1992, one year after the ticket disappeared, the Lotto jackpot went unclaimed and was returned to the state lottery fund. The unclaimed prize holds the record for being the latest in New York's history. At the time of the lottery the owner of the store, Carolina Cutroneo went about asking people if they had bought the winning ticket for over a year. "I think somebody, when they saw they'd won, died or never found out in the first place," she had said then. "In the beginning, we were putting up signs every day, but no one came forward. It's probably somebody who needs it."

Unsplash | Photo by Ryan Brooklyn
Unsplash | Photo by Ryan Brooklyn

At the time, many thought that the winner of the lottery ticket was an outsider. However, after all these years, it turns out that it was not true.

Talking about the money, Valenti told the Staten Island Advance, "Given that kind of money, things can go bad." "That was a saving grace. Who knows what would have happened if I'd had that money? You read these stories, a lot of people win Lotto, and they drop dead. Maybe it was (Bruno) looking out for us to not have that kind of money." Despite her loss, she remains hopeful of winning the lottery someday.

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