Return to Sender: Portland Woman Claims $50,000 Prize by Mail

At 99.92% sold through, for the past several weeks, the Idaho Lottery has been waiting and wondering who, if anyone might be holding the last top prize of $50,000 on the $5 Bonus Play Cashword Scratch GameTM.  Dedicated Lottery players have been canvasing Idaho and every retail location looking for any available tickets to purchase and the location of the final top prize on the game. Today, the winner was identified and the ticket was formally presented for payment.  The story of the winning ticket, although unbelievable, is true.

Last June, Mary Fahlman of Portland, Oregon was visiting her daughter who lives in Post Falls, Idaho.  She bought a $5 Bonus Play Cashword ticket from the Jifi Stop on Appleway in Coeur d’Alene.  Fast forward to mid-July when Mary believed she had a $1,000 winning ticket on her hands.  She obtained a claim form from the Idaho Lottery’s website and completed her paper work.  In early September, she finally mailed her claim forms, photocopy of photo identification, and signed winning ticket to the Lottery in Boise for payment.  There was only one minor hiccup.

She forgot to put postage on the envelope.


A month later, the envelope, with its contents still intact was “Returned to Sender,” back to Mary’s residence in Portland with a bright red stamp that read “Postage Due” and listing the amount owed.

Realizing her error, and still believing she’d only won $1,000, Mary put her claim forms, photocopy of photo identification, and signed winning ticket into a new envelope and took it to the United States Post Office where she sent it to the Idaho Lottery in Boise by Registered Mail.   The winning ticket arrived in Boise on October 9, 2014.

$50,000_BONUS PLAY CASHWORD_Idaho LotteryUnaware she had won a much larger sum than $1,000, Lottery officials contacted Mary to find out the story of one of the most sought after tickets in Idaho and to let her know her good fortune.  After hearing the ticket’s odyssey (at least 2,000 miles traveled through three states), Lottery officials informed her that it was a remarkable trek for a ticket that was not worth $1,000.  Notably, Mary was disappointed until Lottery officials informed her winning ticket was the top prize of $50,000.

“OH MY HEAVENS! I’M OVERWHELMED!” exclaimed Mary, “My goodness gracious.  This is the most wonderful news I’ve heard. That was the best $6 I ever spent!”

Mary plans to put the winnings into her savings account while she decides what to do with her new found windfall.  For selling the winning ticket, Jifi Stop in Coeur d’Alene receives a bonus of $5,000.

And for all their work, the United States Postal Service received $6.59 in postage due and sincere gratitude.

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