$1.5 Billion Mega Millions Jackpot Winner Still Hasn’t Come Forward to Claim Their Winnings
It wasn’t too long ago where everyone in America was racing to their local stores to pick up lottery tickets when the Mega Millions jackpot hit the most we’ve ever seen: $1.5 billion.
We were all fantasizing about what we’d do with that kind of money—buy a house (or a few) in Greece, finally get that luxury dream car, send all your kids, grandkids, and even strangers to college…
The money just kept building and building in the jackpot until finally, on October 23, the winning numbers were chosen: 5, 28, 62, 65 and 70.
We know that the ticket was sold to someone at a KC Mart convenience store in Simpsonville, South Carolina, but their name didn’t come out right away. We didn’t expect it to. Privacy, we get it.
However, it’s been almost a month and we still don’t know who won. That’s right, the winner still hasn’t come forward to claim their mega billion earnings! What the?
While the general public is kind of like uhhh, why?—since we can easily say we’d claim it in five seconds—it’s not too much of a shock to experts.
“We don’t speculate why they haven’t come forward. The winner should know how they will handle the money accordingly, so is not uncommon they take their time to claim it,” said Holli Armstrong, a South Carolina Education Lottery spokeswoman.
It turns out that lottery wins have 180 days from the day the drawing is held to claim their winnings. And they also have the option to remain anonymous. With this kind of money, we wouldn’t blame them if that’s what they wanted.
“They still have over 100 days to come forward, “Armstrong said. “The winner has an option on the claim form to check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for publicity. If the winner declines publicity, we respect their wishes and do not release their name.”
Once the winner—whoever he or she may be—finally claims their prize, they’ll be presented with two different options: Either a one-time lump sum check of $878 million (before taxes), or the full $1.5 billion (before taxes) paid in annuities over the course of 29 years.
Armstrong has some advice for the lucky new billionaire: “We encourage the winner, whoever they are, to sign the back of their ticket, put it in a safe place and speak to someone they trust for guidance before claiming the money.”
Okay, but what if the winner doesn’t ever come forward? In the weird event they don’t, the money will go towards a pretty great cause.
“The funds are returned to the states that sell Mega Millions tickets,” Armstrong said. “In South Carolina, the unclaimed prize money goes into an unclaimed prize fund that supports education.”
Surprisingly, it’s actually not that uncommon for winners not to claim money. According to CNN, billions of dollars go unclaimed in lottery prizes a year. That said, the big-buck winners more often than not claim their money.
To learn more about why this person might not have come forward yet, check out the video below.
What do you think is the reason the jackpot winner hasn’t come forward yet? How will you feel if the winner never claims their prize?