Spanish Good Samaritan Could Scoop Unclaimed Jackpot

September 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Lottery News, Lottery Winners

A Spanish citizen who found a winning ticket worth €4.7 million could end up being the lucky recipient of the prize if the rightful owner doesn’t come forward to claim their prize before the ticket expires.

The jackpot in question was won on the Spanish lottery La Primitiva on Saturday 30th June 2012 after the ticket matched all six winning numbers – 10, 17, 24, 37, 40, 43. The ticket was purchased by an unknown individual from a lottery kiosk in the northwest city of La Coruña several days before the draw and then mysteriously appeared on the counter of a different lottery kiosk in the same city.

Store owner, Manuel Reija Gonzalez (pictured below), is now making headlines around the world for finding the ticket and handing it in to lottery authorities instead of simply claiming the prize.

“I couldn’t believe it when I first checked the ticket!” Manuel told reporters this week. “So I ran it though the machine just in case there was a computer error.” Manuel assumed the ticket had fallen out of someone’s wallet and admitted he almost fell over when he checked the numbers!

“I was standing up, but I had to sit down! I almost broke the chair I was so flustered!” Manuel laughed. When he was asked by reporters about why he didn’t simply just claim the prize money for himself, Manuel made his moral code very clear.

“It would have burned a hole in my pocket,” he explained. “It wouldn’t have been right.”

After Manuel gave the ticket to the Spanish Lottery authorities there was a seemingly endless wait of over a year before they finally issued a statement to La Caruña authorities on Monday 16th September 2013 allowing them to try and track down the rightful owner. A notice has now been placed on the lost and found section of the city website where it has been attracting worldwide attention.

Since going public, city and lottery authorities have already fended off six fraudulent claims to the prize as the individuals have been unable to confirm details of the ticket purchase. In order to reduce the number of false claims, lottery officials have refused to release the exact details of where and when the ticket was originally bought, saying that the rightful owner will be the only one to correctly confirm this information.

A little over nine month’s still remains for the owner of the ticket to claim their prize and the City Mayor, Carlos Negreira (pictured below), is desperate the track down the rightful winner.

“We’re searching for a millionaire, not to ask for money but to give it away,” he told American reporters.

When asked what he thought of Good Samaritan Manuel Reija, the mayor only had good things to say. “He found something that wasn’t his and did the right thing to try and find who it belonged to. He’s a good example for our citizens who believe in justice.”

However, Manuel may not be out of luck just yet. If the rightful owner does not come forward within two years of the draw date, Mayor Negreira has confirmed that the prize will revert to Manuel in its entirety.

The final twist in this story is that Manuel is not only the owner of several lottery kiosks within La Coruña but that his brother, father and grandfather also work for the Spanish lottery!

In a country crippled by a poor economy and with unemployment at an incredible 27%, if there is one thing Spain really needs right now, it’s some good news. Whatever happens in this case – whether the rightful winner comes forward or whether Manuel receives the funds – it is certain to bring a smile to the faces of lottery players across the country. We hope that, one way or another, Manuel is rewarded for his honesty!

You can read more about the Spanish Lotteries, including La Primitivia, here.