$1.05 billion Mega Millions Jackpot Finally Claimed

There had been 37 rollovers in a row before on January 22, the Mega Millions jackpot was finally won. It was the third highest in American lottery history. Finally, the amazing prize has been claimed but the winners have had a battle to protect their identities.

The largest ever win remains the $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot won by three ticket holders in January 2016. That was nearly beaten two years later but then a single ticket won a $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot. To think we get excited in the UK about a £20 million Must Be Won UK Lotto draw.

One major problem any jackpot winner is whether to go public with their win. To do so leaves them open to a steady stream of begging letters, online scammers using their name and threats to their security.

The problem these winners had to face was that under state lottery laws you can’t remain anonymous in Michigan. All of which probably explains why it took the winners nearly three months to come forward and claim their amazing prize.

Well actually it wasn’t the winners who collected their Mega Millions windfall but Florida attorney Kurt Panouses. He’d received a phone call from the winners asking for financial advice. It took them just 12 hours to do that and it’s the most sensible thing they could have done.

Panouses sees his job as being “everyone’s shield.” He was aware of the laws in Michigan and as an attorney often does, he found “some grey area.” The attorney created a new name for the lottery club. Not that Wolverine has anything to do with the X-Men. It’s a Michigan sports related name.

With the Wolverine FFL lottery club name confirmed, it was possible to claim the jackpot without revealing any of their names. As Mr Panouses says, they winners can now “live their lives.”

How much will they actually receive? The jackpot was $1.05 billion but that was the annuity figure. The one-off cash payment was $776 million and after the dreaded taxes have been paid, there’s $557 million left. Split four ways, that’s $139.25 million for each of the four winners.

It’s a win that very nearly didn’t happen at all though. They had forgotten to buy their tickets for the draw. Then one of the members saw a sign advertising it and the easy pick tickets that have changed their lives were purchased.

None of them actually watched the Mega Millions draw live. One did hear the next morning that the jackpot had been won. Not just that but the winning ticket has been sold in the area where they bought their ticket. Could they be the winners?

A quick check was made by one of the club members and yes, they had won! Great news for the future but not so much for having breakfast. In all the excitement, the bacon had been burnt, they can afford a replacement though.

Mr Panouses added: “When you play of course you dream of winning, but the reality of it has been incredible.