$1.5 Billion Mega Millions Winner Finally Claims Prize
The winner of the biggest jackpot in Mega Millions history has finally come forward to anonymously claim their prize almost five months after scooping $1.5 billion. The lucky ticket holder from South Carolina has brought months of speculation to an end by collecting their record payout with only a matter of weeks to go until the claims deadline.
South Carolinian Comes Forward After Five Months
The lucky player won the ten-figure windfall back on Tuesday 23rd October after matching all five main numbers plus the Mega Ball. It was a draw that captured the imagination of residents throughout America, with over 15 million winners on the night. The winning entry was purchased from a KC Mart store in Simpsonville, South Carolina. The convenience store will now receive a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket, which they wouldn’t have received had the claims deadline passed without the winner coming forward.
The winner, who is the recipient of the biggest single payout in American lottery history, bought their jackpot-winning entry spontaneously, and even allowed another customer to skip the queue at KC Mart and buy a Mega Millions ticket before them. South Carolina lottery officials said: “The winner marvels at how every decision made that day brought the winner to the store, at that very moment, to make the Quick Pick Mega Millions lottery ticket purchase. A simple act of kindness led to an amazing outcome.”
They have also opted to receive a pre-tax cash lump sum payment of $877 million, rather than taking annuity payments. According to the South Carolina Education Lottery Commission, a further seven percent in state tax ($61 million) and 24 percent in federal taxes will be taken off the final amount the winner receives.
Jackpot Winner Chooses Anonymity
It is not known whether the now billionaire, who overcame odds of 1 in 303 million to land the jackpot, is a male or female, but they have decided to remain anonymous to protect their identity rather than go public with their big win. South Carolina is one of only eight states in America that allows their winners to stay anonymous.
There are benefits to choosing anonymity, which allows you to stay out of the public spotlight and away from family, friends and possible criminals who might pursue you for a share of the money. Hogan Brown, the commission’s executive director said: “Our board has a policy to protect the winner because of all the risk associated with having that much money.”
“We are delighted that the winner is a South Carolinian and has come forward to claim this remarkable prize. We respect the winner’s decision to remain anonymous, and we will honour the winner’s wishes. The State of South Carolina will benefit from $61 million that will be collected in income taxes from the winner.”
Winners in The Palmetto State have 180 days from the date of a drawing to claim their prize, and the 21st April deadline was looming for the elusive winner. Given the significant delay in the winner coming forward, many were wondering about why it was taking so long. If the claims deadline had expired, the winnings would have been split between all 46 participating states and jurisdictions. Once the jackpot prize payment has gone through, the winner’s legal team are expected to hold a press conference on their behalf.