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Illinois Mega Millions winner to come forward

Apr 17, 2012, 9:32 am

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Mega Millions

The final winner of the record $656 million Mega Millions jackpot will accept a check for $218.6 million on Wednesday in the southern Illinois town of Red Bud where the winning ticket was purchased, the Illinois Lottery said Monday.

The single winner is from Illinois, lottery officials said, but would not reveal any other details. The other two winning tickets already have been anonymously claimed in Maryland and Kansas. Around Red Bud word that the winner would soon be revealed left the town buzzing.

"We'll finally get to see who this person is," Red Bud Mayor Tim Lowry said. "At least the name will be out there, and Red Bud still gets notice in the history books that the winner came from here. It is exciting."

The winning ticket was purchased at the MotoMart convenience store on Main Street in Red Bud, a tiny farming community of about 3,700 residents south of St. Louis. The winner will accept the check at Red Bud Village Hall.

Maryland and Kansas allow lottery winners to claim their prizes anonymously, but Illinois generally requires winners to come forward publicly. Illinois Lottery officials say that helps prove the lottery is paying out its prizes.

The jackpot in the March 30 drawing was the biggest in Mega Millions history.

"We are thrilled to announce that a single claimant has come forward and been confirmed as the official Illinois winner of the world record setting MegaMillion's Jackpot," Illinois Lottery officials said in an email.

Lorraine Liefer, a longtime Red Bud resident, wondered if the soon-to-be-revealed winner even calls Red Bud home, given the town's status as an oasis along well-traveled Illinois Route 3.

"This brings in a lot of headaches for that person," she said. "But I don't know. It's very exciting. There's no one in Red Bud who has any kind of money like that. I think we'll just have to wait and see, I'm afraid."

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