The mystery surrounding the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot from last October is partly over as lottery officials announced Monday that a SC resident had stepped forward to claim the prize but elected to remain anonymous.
But the cash option payment chosen by the South Carolina Mega Millions victor amounts to a lump-sum total of US$877,784,124 - the largest jackpot payout to a single victor in U.S. history, the state lottery commission said.
SC law allows lottery winners to remain anonymous but those provisions are different in most other states. It is the largest jackpot payout to a single victor in U. "We respect the winner's decision to remain anonymous, and we will honour the winner's wishes".
The victor told the lottery commission they let another customer buy a Mega Millions ticket before they did at the store last October, according to a press release.
An apparent random act of kindness lead to the winner's good fortune.
The winning ticket was purchased between October 20 and 23 at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina.
The payout climbed to $1.5 billion after three months and 25 draws passed without a ticket that matched all six numbers.
The lottery commission said the state will get $61 million in income taxes from the victor.
The KC Mart in Simpsonville will receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket and the state will receive $61 million in income taxes from the victor, the commission said in the statement.
The victor had until April 17 to claim the prize. The biggest Mega Millions jackpot to go unclaimed was a $68 million prize in 2002.
The long delay for the victor to step forward for the SC prize had stoked months of speculation: had the ticker purchaser died? Taxpayers in the state may get a US$50 (NZ$73) rebate as a result of the win, the newspaper said.
Some theorized that the victor was on the run from police and feared a background check if he or she won. The winning ticket was sold in NY.
Also not surprising is the victor taking the one-time cash payout of $877,784,124.
This was the first time SC sold Mega Millions jackpot winning ticket, state lottery officials said. "What we're hoping is that, through the taxpayer rebate, all taxpayers in this state will also benefit as a result".