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Florida couple claims share of historic $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot

Feb 17, 2016, 3:05 pm

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Includes video report

By Todd Northrop

A married couple from Melbourne Beach, Florida, have claimed their one-third share of the world's biggest lottery jackpot of all time.

Although the prize money was claimed under a trust, the winners identified themselves in a press conference Wednesday afternoon as David Kaltschmidt, 55, and Maureen Smith, 70.

The winners, originally from Long Island, New York, have been residents of Melbourne Beach since 1991. They have no immediate plans to move.

Although the annuity share of the $1.6 billion jackpot was $528.8 million, the winnings were claimed with the lump-sum cash option, which amounts to a payment of $327,835,077.79 before taxes. Maureen said that the decision to choose the cash was based on her age.

Because Florida does not impose state tax on lottery prizes, the couple only has Federal income taxes to worry about.

Lottery officials said the winners had up to 180 days to claim the $528.8 million or 60 days to take the lump sum of $327.8 million. 

The winning numbers from the Jan. 13 drawing were 4, 8, 19, 27, and 34, with Powerball number 10. The couple said they frequently shop at the Publix, located at 3830 Highway A1A in Melbourne Beach, where their winning ticket was purchased.

The historic jackpot was won by three tickets sold in California, Florida, and Tennessee. (See Record $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot won by 3 tickets, Lottery Post, Jan. 14, 2016.)

David is an employee of Northrop Grumman, a job he's held since 1980. He plans to retire, saying that instead of designing airplanes he will now concentrate on tax strategies, investments, and charities. Maureen is a homemaker.

The couple has been keeping the win a secret from everyone, including family, friends, and work, since winning the massive prize on January 13.

Keeping the secret was not easy. The first day after the win David arrived late for work, prompting employees to ask him if he was the winner. He told them he didn't purchase a ticket. (He didn't lie, because Maureen was the one who bought it.)

Finally the couple notified family members about their win about a week ago.

Their biggest concern is security, now that their identities are revealed. David said that he has been adding some security systems to the couple's home.

They refused to speak about children, citing privacy concerns. "Certain things we want to keep to ourselves," Maureen said during the press conference.

Maureen worried that she would become less friendly overall due to their security concerns. She said that winning the jackpot is "scary and unknown". She has been dreading the press conference.

The winning ticket was played with numbers that the couple has been using for the past 30 years, although not regularly.

The couple does not have immediate plans for the money, other than a new car. "My truck is falling apart, so it's time to get a new vehicle," David said.

Marueen said she has plans to "help special people in [her] life", but the only immediate plan was to get a massage.

It takes 2 days for the Florida Lottery to wire transfer the money into the winners' bank account, but they do get the entire amount in one fell swoop.

There is still one unclaimed ticket from the record Powerball drawing — the one sold in Chino Hills, California. The Tennessee winning ticket was claimed by a couple two days after the drawing. (See Tennessee couple claims share of $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot, Lottery Post, Jan. 15, 2016.)

VIDEO: Watch the press conference

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

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