“Storage Wars” star DAN DOTSON recently sold off a storage unit for $500 . . . and later found out that it had $7.5 million in it.  (!!!)

The money was inside a safe.  It’s not clear whether Dotson knew the safe was in there, or why he didn’t try to open it himself.  But the new owner did, and found the cash.

But soon after finding the money, the new owner got a call from an attorney representing the ORIGINAL owners of the unit . . . a.k.a. the people that money actually belonged to.

They offered the new owner $600,000 to return the cash . . . but the two sides eventually settled on $1.2 million.

Here’s something you might be wondering:  If YOU found that cash, and it was legally yours, why would you return it for ANYTHING?  Why not just keep the $7.5 million?  The law is on your side, right?

Well, Dotson and his wife Laura summed it up in a YouTube video:  The money was probably DIRTY.  Why else was that kind of cash stuffed in a storage unit and not a bank?

So if you keep that cash, who knows who might be coming after you?  This way, the dude gets to walk away with $1.2 million in his pocket, instead of looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.