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Winner of $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot has come forward

Mar 4, 2019, 6:02 pm

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Mega Millions

More than four months after making his or her fateful lottery ticket purchase, the winner of the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot has stepped forward — but will remain anonymous, the South Carolina Education Lottery Commission announced.

The winner of the largest jackpot in U.S. history has opted for up-front cash — a one-time payment of $877,784,124, the commission announced shortly before 5 p.m. Monday.

According to a statement from the commission, the winner confided in how unlikely the win was — that he (or she) had let a fellow customer buy a Quick Pick Mega Millions lottery ticket ahead of him in line the day he made his own lottery ticket purchase at the KC Mart in Simpsonville.

"We are delighted that the winner is a South Carolinian and has come forward to claim this remarkable prize," said Hogan Brown, the lottery commission's executive director. "We respect the winner's decision to remain anonymous, and we will honor the winner's wishes."

KC Mart in Simpsonville will receive $50,000 for selling the claimed winning ticket.

The state of South Carolina, meanwhile, will collect $61 million in income taxes from the winner, according to the commission.

The winner has hired attorney Jason Kurland of Rivkin Radler of New York, who will provide legal representation while also acting as the winner's spokesman, according to the commission.

Kurland has represented multiple large lottery winners, according to his firm's website, including the Putnam Avenue Family Trust, winner of a $254.2 million Connecticut Powerball lottery; the Rainbow Sherbert Trust, winner of a $336.4 million Rhode Island Powerball jackpot; and The Ning Trust, winner of a $121.6 million Powerball jackpot in Delaware two years ago.

Kurland could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

Once the South Carolina winner has been paid, a news conference will take place at the S.C. lottery commission's headquarters in Columbia.

The ticket's initial purchase took place Oct. 24, 2018, and the winner had 180 days to step forward.

He — or she — waited 131, prompting intense speculation on social media about what the winner might be up to over the past four months. Was the ticket lost? Did the winner not know he had bought the winning ticket? Had a minor purchased it? 

According to a recent report, had the winner deposited the $878 million lump sum into a 2-percent interest savings account on day one, they would have collected $5.8 million in interest alone by now.

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