Dec 23, 2003, 5:37 am
All he wants for Christmas is $63 million - plus interest.
A Brooklyn man has filed suit against New York Lottery, claiming he won last year's Mega Millions drawing on Christmas Eve.
Dr. Fritzner Bechette claims he "lost the ticket in a non-retrievable situation" and has tried to claim the prize since last Dec. 25.
Lottery officials say the ticket is worth $68 million. It wasn't immediately clear why Bechette is suing for $5 million less. The suit was filed in Queens Supreme Court last week.
The deadline to collect the unclaimed ultimate Christmas bonus - one of the larger jackpots in the 10-state Mega Millions history - falls one minute before midnight.
"It's very rare that we've had a jackpot of this size lapse," said Carolyn Hapeman, a spokeswoman for New York Lottery. "It's a sizeable jackpot to not claim."
Hapeman would not comment on Bechette's suit.
On Christmas Eve, 2002, the winning ticket - with the numbers 8 24 39 43 52 and Megaball 43 - was sold at the Kings Plaza Newsstand in Brooklyn.
No one has produced it.
"I'm sad for [the winner]," said Imran Yousaf, 24, a cashier at the newsstand, who was working last Christmas Eve. "Someone should get it. There are some unlucky people and maybe they just lost the ticket."
The newsstand long ago collected its winnings: a $10,000 bonus for selling the ticket. Every year, millions of dollars in prizes go unclaimed, according to Hapeman. But the $68 million jackpot would be the biggest not to be collected. It more than doubles the previous record of $27 million, in 2001.
Meanwhile, tonight's Mega Millions jackpot is $100 million and the Christmas Eve jackpot for Powerball, which is sold in Connecticut, is $137 million.
It's the first time both jackpots have been reached at least $100 million simultaneously.
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