LEBANON, Maine (WJW) –The winner of the $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot has come forward to accept their winnings, according to the Maine Lottery.
The Maine Lottery says the winner chose the cash option, a one-time, lump-sum payment of $723,564,144 before taxes.
The Mega Millions winning ticket was purchased for the Jan.13 drawing at the Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon, Maine, according to Mega Millions.
Owner Fred Cotreau said he had no idea who held the winning ticket.
“We’re going to wait and see if it’s a local. Who knows? Sometimes they come to the store and say thank you, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it,” said Cotreau, who shared half of the store’s proceeds of $50,000 for selling the winning ticket with his employees.
The prize is $1.348 billion ($723.5 million cash), which is the fourth-largest jackpot in the history of the game, according to Mega Millions.
“Congratulations to the Maine State Lottery, which has just won its first-ever Mega Millions jackpot,” says Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald, Lead Director for the Mega Millions Consortium. “It’s the fourth billion-dollar jackpot in Mega Millions history. We thank all our retailers for their hard work during this spectacular run, and our customers for their enthusiasm and support. I hope the fun and excitement Mega Millions has generated inspires a winning attitude in our daily lives and towards everyone we meet. Here’s to a good year!”
The Maine State Lottery said the winner chose to remain anonymous and collect the cash option through a limited liability company, LaKoma Island Investments LLC, instead of receiving the full amount in payments over time.
“The winner is thoughtfully considering the best uses of the life-changing prize,” a representative said in a statement.
The winning ticket was validated when a representative came to the lottery headquarters in Augusta, Maine on Friday, and the wire transfer of the money will take place before the end of the week, said Michael Boardman, deputy director of the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operation.
“I understand why someone would want to remain anonymous with this kind of money. We wish them well and hope they do good things with it,” he said.
If the winner had chosen to accept the full amount, then there would’ve been 30 payments over 29 years, Boardman said.
By accepting the cash payout, the winner will receive more than $498 million after taxes, Boardman said. Taxes in the amount of $173.6 million will go to the federal government and $51 million to the state, he said. The limited liability company that will receive the money was incorporated in Las Vegas, he said.
The winner overcame steep odds of 1 in 302.6 million, in the drawing on Friday the 13th, no less. It was the first Maine winner for the Mega Mills jackpot, which is played in 45 states as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
According to Mega Millions, this was the State of Maine’s first Mega Millions jackpot win.