PORTLAND, Maine — The winner of the $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot, the fourth-biggest in US history, has come forward to collect the prize, state officials said Wednesday.
The winner of the January raffle had been a mystery, and remains a mystery.
The Maine State Lottery said the winner chose to remain anonymous and collect the option in cash through a limited liability company, LaKoma Island Investments LLC, rather than receive the full amount in payments over time.
“The winner is carefully considering the best uses for the life-changing prize,” a representative said in a statement.
By choosing the cash option, the winner will receive a one-time payment of $723,564,144 before taxes, officials said.
The winner had the option of showing up in person with the winning ticket or remaining anonymous through a trust, lottery officials said.
The winning ticket was validated when a representative went to lottery headquarters in Augusta on Friday, and the electronic transfer of the money will take place before the end of the week, said Michael Boardman, deputy director of the Office of Alcoholic Beverage and Lottery Operations. from Maine. .
“I understand why someone would want to remain anonymous with this amount of money. We wish them the best and hope they do good things with it,” she said.
The winning ticket for the January 13 drawing was purchased at Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon, which is located on a busy highway in a small town near the New Hampshire border.
Owner Fred Cotreau said he had no idea who had the winning ticket.
“We are going to wait and see if it is 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 $50,000 profit from selling the winning ticket with his employees.
If the winner had chosen to accept the full amount, there would have been 30 payments over 29 years, Boardman said.
By accepting the cash payment, 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 out of state, he said.
The winner beat the high odds of 1 in 302.6 million, in the draw on Friday the 13th, no less. He was the first Maine winner of the Mega Millions jackpot, which is played in 45 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands.