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Six Months After Winning Big, A Cedar Rapids Woman Claims Her $30,000 Prize

Julie O'Malley Wins Top Prize Playing 'Let It Snow Crossword' Game

Julie O'Malley   Hear Julie tell her story.

DES MOINES, Iowa - Six months after buying a winning scratch ticket, a Cedar Rapids woman has claimed her big prize.

Julie O'Malley, 50, claimed a $30,000 top prize on a "Let It Snow Crossword" ticket she purchased in January at Hawkeye Convenience Store, 1581 First Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids.

Sales in the lottery's holiday-themed Let It Snow Crossword game have ended, but players may still claim prizes in it.

O'Malley said she put the scratch ticket in her purse and forgot about it until several weeks later when she was looking for her safety deposit box key.

"I was cleaning out purses and found these two (tickets) that I hadn't scratched," O'Malley told lottery employees Thursday as she claimed her prize at the lottery's regional office in Cedar Rapids.

O'Malley said she held onto her winning scratch ticket for tax purposes, as she and her husband, Mike, own a bar in Cedar Rapids. She also works as an Autism Interventionist for Grant Wood AEA in Cedar Rapids.

When she found out she had won in February, O'Malley said she had her husband double-check her winning ticket.

"He thought I did it wrong because I kept telling him I was going to win and he didn't believe me, but he believes me now," she said.

O'Malley said a majority of her lottery winnings will be put into a trust fund for her autistic son and a college fund for her daughter. The couple also plans to take an international trip.

Let It Snow Crossword was a $3 scratch game. Players won a prize by uncovering at least three complete words in the ticket's puzzle. If a player uncovered 10 words, he/she won $30,000. The overall odds of winning a prize in the game were 1 in 3.82.

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