Man accidentally bought 2 identical lottery tickets — and won 2 jackpots

Three members of a South Carolina family pocket a combined $343m after buying two scratch-off tickets from a local store, one of which won $25m

Man accidentally bought 2 identical lottery tickets — and won 2 jackpots

A man in South Carolina bought two lottery tickets and forgot to cancel the other – one of which won $25m, he told a media outlet.

The lottery tickets were bought at the same store three years ago, with the same scratch-off games that matched all six numbers, according to the Post and Courier. Each ticket matched two numbers but not the Powerball, so they remained technically equal. The third lottery ticket was worth $25m.

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Joseph Rockenwagner told the newspaper he felt “wonderful, almost like a kid in a candy store” when he realized the big win after playing a New Hampshire scratch-off game last month.

The 46-year-old said he did not want to wait to decide who would get the winnings before taking a lump sum worth $43.2m, worth just under $21m at current exchange rates.

The first family member, Rockenwagner’s father – who he had not seen in a few years – rang the prize number for the second ticket right away.

“I got a phone call from dad saying ‘You better come over, you won $25m’,” Rockenwagner said.

It’s the second mega payout of a local person who did not want to sell the ticket to whoever bought it. Matthew Huffman, of Lancaster, New Hampshire, had called the lottery office when he did not realise he had won a lump sum worth $60m.

Huffman, a hospital operations coordinator, called lottery officials from his office while working as an accountant. The report says he felt “totally elated” after realising he had won and planned to take a short break but he had already purchased three tickets for the next drawing.

The Hecksins are not the first lottery winners in the US to share their winnings with other families. On 16 August 2004, Lizzie and Andrew Holt from Kentucky won the $315m Mega Millions jackpot. Lizzie and her mother, Jean, revealed that they were giving $60m to the Holt brothers, but decided to split the remainder. Andrew was initially quoted as receiving $10m while Lizzie gave $5m. Andrew later said he believed he was entitled to half the jackpot, claiming he paid in $1,000 before the announcement was made and received an instant $50,000.

To date, the largest payout in US history remains the £165m Euromillions jackpot in January 2016. UK lottery winners also occasionally give an enormous sum to other family members after winning hundreds of millions of pounds. But with only four winners given the top prize, some of the biggest transfers in US history – of $173m, $212m and $204m – are yet to be claimed.

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