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California woman is announced as $426 million Mega Millions jackpot winner

Jun 10, 2022, 11:08 am

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Mega Millions

Winner claims state's biggest lottery jackpot this year

By Kate Northrop

The lone winner of a $426 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot stepped forward this week to claim her prize.

Yesterday, the California Lottery announced Kristine Wellenstein as the state's biggest winner so far this year.

Back in January, the Mega Millions jackpot had reached an estimated $421 million, which had been bumped up to $426 million after the drawing took place on Jan. 28, 2022.

Wellenstein decided to try her luck and bought a ticket at the Chevron gas station on Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Woodland Hills. As it turned out, she was the luckiest person in the country.

"When I realized I'd won, I was overcome with so many emotions, but mostly gratitude," Wellenstein told the California Lottery.

She was the only person in the U.S. to match all six numbers, which were 3, 16, 25, 44, and 55, with Mega Ball 13. The Megaplier was 3.

The lone winner opted to take the $292.9 million lump sum cash option, which, according to website USA Mega's Jackpot Analysis tool, was estimated to be $184.6 million after federal taxes are deducted. (California does not impose state tax on lottery winnings.)

Although Wellenstein prefers to keep much of her life private, she did relay that the newfound wealth has given her purpose to make a difference in both local communities and the world.

"I want to give back and support local and global-based initiatives, and my team is in place to help achieve those objectives," the lucky player said in a press release. "The real impact of my life's work begins now."

The $426 million Mega Millions jackpot began its cycle in October 2021. 27 rollovers later, sales for the entire sequence in California totaled $110.3 million, the Lottery said. This jackpot run awarded the state's public schools an estimated $40 million.

"We love having big jackpots and big wins in California," Lottery Director Alva V. Johnson said. "Higher jackpots typically result in higher sales, of course, and that means more money for public education, which we are proud to support. The Lottery exists solely to benefit schools, so not only do we congratulate Ms. Wellenstein on this terrific win, but we also congratulate students from elementary on up through university, who greatly benefit as well."

The Chevron gas station that Wellenstein bought her winning ticket at receives the maximum $1 million bonus for selling it.

There were also three players from Mississippi, New York, and Texas who managed to match five numbers in the drawing on Jan. 28, 2022 and win a $1 million prize. One player from Ohio matched five numbers and chose the Megaplier option, boosting their prize to $3 million.

The Mega Millions jackpot currently stands at $226 million for tonight's drawing on Fri., June 10. Mega Millions drawings take place Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm PST. Tickets cost $2 each. Players can view Mega Millions lottery results on Lottery Post's Lottery Results page.

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