updated 2/16/2011 10:56:01 AM ET 2011-02-16T15:56:01

A North Carolina couple has claimed a $1 million lotto prize just a day before it expired.

Raleigh Hill bought the Mega Millions ticket last summer. The state lottery agency said Hill and his wife claimed the prize Tuesday at the agency's headquarters.

Hill said he only realized a couple of weeks after the Aug. 20 drawing that his ticket matched all five white balls. He waited two or three more weeks to tell his wife, until she came home at the end of a bad day.

Hill told the state lottery he hesitated to come in because of the attention. At one point, he lost track of the ticket before finding where he'd hidden it in a shoebox.

After taxes, the couple received $680,000. Hill is a baggage handler and his wife, Erin Hill, works for the federal government.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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