The first of three winners stepped forward to claim their share of the record $656 million Mega Millions jackpot today, but kept their identity secret, the Lawrence Journal World reported. The individual bought their ticket in Kansas, which allows lottery winners to remain anonymous.
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The individual called ahead to the Kansas Lottery headquarters, then arrived this morning with legal counsel and financial advisors in tow, ABC News reported.
According to ABC News:
Kansas Lottery authorities presented a jumbo check for an estimated $218 million to a cardboard poster figure with a smiley-face head and the words "anonymous jackpot winner" printed on its chest.
The winner chose to take the cash option of $157 million rather than yearly payments over 26 years which would have added up to the full $218 million, ABC News reported. Of the taxes withheld, Kansas will receive $7.9 million, the Lawrence Journal World reported.
Lottery officials also presented a check for $10,000 to a representative from Casey's General Store in Ottawa, Kansas, where the winning ticket was sold, the Lawrence Journal World reported.
Dennis Wilson, executive director of the Kansas Lottery, would not reveal the gender, age or any other details about the winner, but said they played the lottery regularly, ABC News reported.
"They didn't actually discover they had the winning ticket until Monday," Wilson told ABC News. "They actually just checked the tickets of all the games they had purchased and found out they were the winner."
The numbers drawn were 2, 4, 23, 38 and 46, and the Mega Ball was 23.
"I'm so happy I'm seeing this. This is exactly what they should do," Susan Bradley, a Florida certified financial planner and founder of the Sudden Money Institute, a resource center for new money recipients such as lottery winners, told the Associated Press. "Some people are really afraid — scared of blowing it, losing who they are and being taken advantage of. Hopefully they're getting their ducks in a row and starting to settle into the magnitude of the experience.”
Winning tickets were also sold in Maryland and in Red Bud, Ill., a farm town of 3,700, the AP reported. The Maryland winner can remain anonymous, but the Illinois winner will have to reveal their identity.
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