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Va. man wins $7 million thanks to lottery ticket mistake | News

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Va. man wins $7 million thanks to lottery ticket mistake

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WUSA9) -- Like thousands of lottery retailers across the country, Michael Donnelly sold a lot of Powerball tickets in January. 

So when a customer visited the Harris-Teeter on Columbia Pike in Falls Church to buy a Powerball ticket, it was something Michael Donnelly had done plenty of times before.

But this time, Donnelly hit the wrong button on the terminal and rang the customer up for a Cash4Life ticket instead of a Powerball ticket. Because of his mistake, Donnelly ended up buying the Cash4Life ticket himself.

And on January 7 as millions of people watched a jackpot-less Powerball drawing, Donnelly hit all six numbers on his accidental Cash4Life ticket.

Of course, the chance ticket wasn't the first thing on his mind. It wasn't until a few days later that a customer told Donnelly she heard that a winning ticket was sold at his store. That's when the Virginia Lottery says he checked his ticket and saw his was a winner.

He called his wife, who told him “If that’s true, you have to come home because I’m about to have a heart attack!”  

Donnelly, who lives in Woodbridge, had the choice between a $1,000 payment per day for the rest of his life or a one-time cash option of $7 million before taxes. The lottery says he chose the one-time payment.

“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” Donnelly said.

The Harris-Teeter Donnelly works at received $50,000 for selling the winning ticket.  

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