New Jersey man claims $24.1 million lottery jackpot just before 1-year deadline

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A lottery winner claimed his prize just before the one-year deadline. (Photo/New York Lottery)

A retired security officer in New Jersey is a lucky, last-minute lottery winner.

Jimmie Smith, 68, of East Orange, claimed the $24.1 million New York Lotto jackpot from a drawing held in May of 2016.

He almost missed out on the big winnings, as the one-year deadline for claiming the prize approached.

Smith saw a news report about the missing winner, found a shirt with a pocket full of unchecked tickets, and realized Lady Luck was in fact on his side.

Smith, a father of two and grandfather of 12, said he plans to have an "all-family discussion" about what to do with the windfall.

Smith said he's been buying tickets in New York City and in his home state since the 1960s, but has never been in a rush to check any of them. "I always told myself, 'I'll check them when I have the time,' he said."

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