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Powerball winner almost let ticket expire

Monday - 11/7/2011, 4:56pm  ET

Maryland State Lottery Agency
Halmon says his mom convinced him to check the numbers. (Photo courtesy of Maryland State Lottery Agency)

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - It pays to check the numbers when it comes to the lottery.

Michael Halmon, 49, of Waldorf buys $100 to $200 worth of lottery tickets each week, but he's gotten into a bad habit. He just sticks the tickets in a Safeway bag.

He tells WTOP that his "mom has been chewing him out," and convinced him to finally look at the numbers. Good thing he did. Halmon was in possession of a winning ticket and had just two weeks to claim it before it expired.

The ticket he purchased at a Clinton 7-Eleven was worth $200,000. At first, Halmon thought the attendant was joking with him.

"Are you serious?" he says with a laugh.

Now that Halmon knows it wasn't a joke, he plans to be very practical with his spoils.

A UPS driver and a retiree from the military, Halmon says he will pay off all of his bills for the new year. He will also spend most of the remaining money on his large family. He has six children and one of his daughters is currently going to nursing school.

He is also thinking big for the holidays.

"This Christmas will be a blessed Christmas for everyone," Halmon says.

Once you account for taxes, he'll take home about $131,500.

Since its inception in 1973, the Maryland Lottery has awarded more than $17.7 billion in prizes to players and $12.2 billion in revenue to the State of Maryland.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)