Man Collects Mega Millions Prize After He Was Told Ticket Wasn't A Winner

A Manassas, Virginia, man was told that his Mega Million ticket was not a winner, but after he checked it a few weeks later and asked for a second opinion, he realized he was the winner of $1 million.

According to a press release issued by the Virginia Lottery, Malcolm Meredith held on to his lottery ticket from the May 20 drawing despite being told it was not a winning ticket.

When he looked at the ticket weeks later, he realized he won some amount of money, but it wasn't until he took the ticket to the Virginia Lottery's Northern Virginia Service Center that Meredith learned he won $1 million.

Mega Millions
A man realized he won $1 million from his Mega Millions lottery ticket despite being told his ticket was not a winner. Above, a person buys a Mega Millions lottery ticket at a store in Arlington, Virginia. OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty Images

What Is Mega Millions?

According to the Virginia Lottery, the Mega Millions drawing occurs twice each week. Players can win the jackpot or other cash prizes on the $2 ticket.

"Every Mega Millions jackpot grows until the jackpot is won," the organization said. "Any Mega Millions jackpot can be won by a single individual or by multiple people."

Players choose five numbers that range between one and 70 and select a "Mega Ball" number from one to 25.

The amount of money that a player can win may differ, depending on how many winning numbers a player matches on their ticket.

"If more than one ticket matches all six numbers in a drawing, winners will share the jackpot," the organization said. "Jackpot winners will choose Annual Payout or Cash Option when they claim their prize."

A player in Illinois hit all six numbers and won the Mega Millions $1.227 billion jackpot, which is the second-largest lottery in the game's history.

Profits generated by lottery sales go back to help fund public education from grades K through 12 in Virginia. In 2000, the State Lottery Proceeds Fund was created thanks to more than 80 percent of Virginia voters.

"The measure, now a permanent part of Virginia's Constitution, directs all Virginia Lottery profits to be used solely for educational purposes," the organization said.

Meredith, though he did not win the jackpot, matched the first five winning numbers, missing the Mega Ball number.

Unique vs Random Lottery Numbers

He purchased the ticket at a Harris Teeter location in Manassas and allowed the computer to randomly select the numbers.

"If he had matched all six numbers, Mr. Meredith would have won a jackpot estimated at $131 million," the release said. "Nevertheless, it was the only ticket in the nation to match the first five numbers in that drawing."

While Meredith won his prize, the Harris Teeter location he purchased the ticket from also receives a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Newsweek reached out to Virginia Lottery for comment.

Another man in Virginia won $250,000 after he decided to use the number he saw in a dream.

Todd Graves, the founder of Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, bought about 50,000 lottery tickets for his employees and said that if any of the tickets were winners, the prize would be evenly split among the workers.