This is a really bad case of money laundering.

While just about everyone can empathize with someone who has washed a pair of pants with cash in the pockets, it’s much more difficult to grasp the pain of a woman from California.

She may have washed away a cool $26 million.

A California lottery ticket purchased prior to the Nov. 14 drawing was sold at an Arco AM/PM convenience store in the Los Angeles suburb of Norwalk.

An employee there, Esperanza Hernandez, told the Whittier Daily News that a woman came in on Wednesday claiming her winning ticket was destroyed in the laundry.

Thursday was the last day to redeem tickets from that drawing.

The woman, reported to be in her 40s, declined to be interviewed and remains unidentified.

The investigation is underway, with the store manager telling KTLA-TV that surveillance video, since turned over to California lottery officials, showed the woman who bought the ticket, and she is known to store workers.

Lottery spokeswoman Cathy Johnston said the woman’s case is being examined.

Under Lottery rules, people in these situations must complete a claim form. With regard to a lost ticket, the people have to produce evidence such as a photo of the front and back of the ticket, the officials said.

If the prize isn’t claimed, the $19.7 million will go to California public schools, according to a California Lottery news release.

It’s uncommon for large jackpots to go unclaimed, officials said.

Lottery spokesman Jorge De La Cruz told the Los Angeles Times that four prizes of $20 million or more since 1997 went unclaimed, including a $63 million prize from 2015. 

To date, California public schools have received more than $1 billion from unclaimed lottery prizes, according to the release.

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