Man Discovers He Won $1M Lottery While Redeeming What He Thought Was a $600 Prize

Jose Flores Velasquez of Virginia visited his local lottery headquarters to claim the $600 he won — but he left with much more than he expected

Jose Velasquez
Photo: Virginia Lottery

Jose Flores Velasquez was happy to have won $600 after purchasing a lottery ticket at a local grocery store.

Little did he know he had won much, much more.

According to the Virginia Lottery, Velasquez recently visited the organization's headquarters in Woodbridge to redeem the winning $600 ticket but was surprised to learn from staffers that he had actually won the $1 million prize.

The life-changing moment only happened after Velasquez bought a "20X the Money" ticket at a Safeway while picking up soft drinks on his way home from work, per Virginia Lottery.

After claiming his winnings, Velasquez then had to choose whether he wanted $1 million spread out over the next 30 years, or a one-time payment. He chose the one-time cash option and took home $759,878 after taxes (which is $759,278 more than what he initially thought he had won, in case anyone is counting).

Velasquez told the Virginia Lottery that he would use his newfound cash to help his family and possibly start his own business.

"He is the second top prize winner in the latest version of 20X the Money (game #2128); that means one top prize remains unclaimed," Virginia Lottery said in a statement on their website.

"The game features prizes ranging from $10 all the way up to $1 million," they added. "The chances of winning the top prize are 1 in 1,754,400. The chances of winning any prize in this game are 1 in 3.65."

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While fortune is undoubtedly on Velasquez's side, lottery winners often have a hard time holding on to their new cash.

One example is Jonathan Vargas, who won a $35.3 million Powerball prize in 2008. The then 19-year-old used his winnings to start a wrestling-themed sketch comedy show that ended after one season. While speaking to CBS News in 2016, he expressed some regret for his spending endeavors.

"If I had to do it all over again," he told the outlet, "I would recommend people just sit on it for a year — really decide what they want to do with it."

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