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Florida man claims $1 million Mega Money prize

Apr 29, 2004, 7:39 am

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Florida Lottery

An Estero, Florida man has beaten the odds 1 in 2,986,522 to be exact to win the Florida Lotterys $1 million Mega Money jackpot.

John H. Winkeljohn, 73, flew to lottery headquarters in Tallahassee with his wife on Wednesday to claim the prize.

Lottery officials said Winkeljohn chose the one-time lump sum payment of $738,527.65. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Winkeljohn purchased Fridays winning ticket at the Publix at 5991 Pine Ridge Road in Naples, opting for the computerized Quick Pick. It gave him the winning combination of 5-8-34-38 with Mega Ball 12.

Publix store manager Brett Tessier said Winkeljohn returned several days later to tell employees about his good fortune. This was the first time the store sold a winning Mega Money ticket.

The Mega Money game was redesigned in January to boost top prizes to between $500,000 and $2 million. Players can also now win a free ticket for matching just the Mega Ball. Since 1999, the Florida Lottery has transferred more than $3.7 billion to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund and more than $13 billion to educational revenue to date.

The next Mega Money drawing will be at 11 p.m. Friday with an estimated $1 million jackpot.

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