KEY POINTS

  • Scotty Thomas, 49, won an annual prize of $50,000 after he purchased two identical winning tickets
  • He collected his winnings as a lump sum of $551,851 after federal and state tax withholdings
  • Thomas said he opted for the lump sum because he wanted to invest in his business and pay off bills, among other things

A 49-year-old man in Cumberland County, North Carolina, won two $25,000 per year lottery prizes after he accidentally purchased two identical tickets for a drawing over a week ago.

Scotty Thomas, of Fayetteville, filled out an online form as he was unsure if he had bought a ticket in the state's Lucky for Life lottery drawing, CNN reported.

"I was just [lying down] in bed watching a basketball game on TV and I couldn’t remember if I filled it out or not," Thomas was quoted as saying by the North Carolina Education Lottery, the game's organizer, in a statement released last Tuesday.

"I went ahead and filled it out again and the next morning my son asked why there were two different amounts listed. I realized, 'I think I filled it out twice,'" the dump truck operator added.

Thomas's pair of $2 Lucky for Life tickets purchased from the NCEL's Online Play program with a smartphone had each won him a yearly prize of $25,000 in the game's Nov. 27 drawing, which is second only to the $1,000-a-day-for-life top prize.

Thomas "had to lay down on the floor" as he "really just couldn't believe it," according to the organizer.

Each of Thomas' prizes could have been claimed as a yearly annuity of $25,000 or a lump sum of $390,000, but he decided to cash in on both Monday and received a total of $780,000.

Thomas explained he opted for the lump sum, which amounted to $551,851 after federal and state tax withholdings because he wanted to invest in his business, pay off some bills, help out his family and possibly buy a house.

A similar story happened last September in Florida when a 64-year-old woman won $4 million from her two winning lottery tickets.

Susan Fitton, of Boca Raton, claimed a pair of $2 million Mega Millions tickets at the Florida Lottery's West Palm Beach District Office after her tickets matched all five of the white ball numbers in the game's Sept. 14 drawing.

The Prip Mart convenience store at 299 West Camino Real in Boca Raton will receive a $10,000 bonus commission for selling the winning tickets.

games-1363219_1920 Representation. Scotty Thomas' $25,000-a-year-for-life prize in the Lucky for Life lottery was the second-biggest in the game, with the jackpot being $1,000-a-day-for-life. Photo: Pixabay