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Millionaire Richard Watson / Iowa Lottery

Richard Watson thought the call was a scam. Instead, it made him a millionaire.

His bank called and said people claiming to be representatives of the Iowa Lottery were looking for him. The lottery officials thought the Belton, Mo., man might be the winner of an unclaimed $1 million Powerball prize from the Nov. 16 drawing.

Watson, 58, repairs industrial injection molding machines for a living. He buys lottery tickets on the road.

"I travel for work and I have a bundle of lottery tickets that I was planning on going through, but I hadn't yet," Watson said in a news release.

At the Iowa Lottery official's request, Watson dug out a Powerball ticket he bought at a Kum & Go store in Tipton, Iowa. Watson's ticket matched the first five numbers drawn, but not Powerball. It was good for $1 million and it had been sitting in his computer bag for more than six months.

Iowa Lottery Security Division investigators tracked Watson down. Lottery officials closely monitor unclaimed large prizes. Detectives worked with Kum & Go to find the bank account Watson used to pay for the ticket.

Lottery investigators called the bank and asked if they would have Watson call them.

It was the most profitable phone call of his life.

Watson lives with his parents, who are in their 80s. He plans to move the family back to their native Las Vegas region and find a nice home, Watson said in the news release.

A $10,000 Powerball prize from the same drawing sold at the Family Foods store in Tipton remains unclaimed, said Mary Neubauer, Iowa Lottery spokeswoman. Unclaimed prizes are forfeited back to the lottery after one year.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Lottery tracks down $1M Powerball winner 6 months later

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