Someone finally came forward claiming the $ 1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot, less than two months before the win was destined to expire, putting an end to months of speculation that had followed after the announcement of the prize in October.
The South Carolina Lottery announced Monday that the winner, who chose to remain anonymous, will receive a one-time payment of $ 878 million – the biggest jackpot prize for a single ever winner, according to the lottery organization.
The winner is represented by the lawyer Jason Kurland, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"The winner is amazed at how every decision taken that day brought the winner to the store, just then, to make the purchase of the Quick Pick Mega Millions lottery ticket," said the lottery organization in a press release.
The organization said that the good luck of the winner was the result of a "simple act of kindness".
"The winner even allowed another customer to make a purchase of Mega Millions lottery tickets in front of the winner while standing in line at the store," said the organization.
The ticket was purchased on October 23 at KC Mart in Simpsonville, a city of about 22,000 people outside Greenville. The shop will receive a bonus of $ 50,000; the state will get $ 61 million of income tax from the winner, said the lottery organization.
"We are delighted that the winner is a Southern Carolinian and has come forward to claim this remarkable award," said Hogan Brown, executive director of the State Lotteries Committee, in a statement. "We respect the winner's decision to remain anonymous and honor the wishes of the winner."
The South Carolina law allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, but the provisions are different in most other states. In New Hampshire last year, a woman who won the lottery brought the state to court to keep her identity secret. A judge later declared that he could remain anonymous.
The long delay with which the winner came forward for the South Carolina award had fueled months of speculation: the ticker buyer was dead? They were not aware of having won? Would the prize never be required?
The winners must claim the prize within 180 days, setting the deadline at the end of April.
The economic experts of South Carolina have reduced revenue projections due to the kidnapping, reported Post and Courier. Taxpayers of the state can get a refund of $ 50 as a result of the victory, the newspaper said.
"I'm happy that the money will remain in South Carolina, of course, South Carolina will reap the benefits," said a spokesperson for the State House and Media Committee Murrell Smith (R-Sumter). "What we hope is that, through the tax payer's discount, all taxpayers in this state will also benefit".
If the money had not been claimed, it would have been divided among the 44 states taking part in the Mega Millions competition, the newspaper said.
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