Winner comes forward to claim $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot

The winner of the $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot came forward in Maine to collect their reward over one month after drawing the lucky numbers, officials said.

The winner has chosen to remain anonymous and receive their winnings as a lump sum payout of around $498 million after taxes, said Michael Boardman, deputy director of Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operation, on Wednesday.

“We wish [the winner] well and hope they do good things with [the money],” Boardman said.

The lucky ticket drawn on Jan. 13 was validated at the lottery headquarters in Augusta on Feb. 17, Boardman said.

The winner chose to collect their winnings in cash payment through the liability company LaKoma Island Investments LLC.

The prize is the fourth-largest in US lottery history, USA Today said. The heftiest-ever winnings were the $2.04 billion Powerball drawn in California last November.

The winner is the first Mega Millions champion in Maine history.

The ticket was purchased last month at Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon, which also received a generous $50,000 bonus, WMTW8 reported

Owner Fred Cotreau, himself a lifetime lottery player, shared half of the establishment’s extra proceeds with his employees.

Fred Cotreau
Fred Cotreau is proud that his establishment sold the winning ticket.

“We’re going to wait and see if it’s a local,” he said of the mysterious winner.

“Who knows? Sometimes they come to the store and say thank you, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.” 

A representative for the winner told WMTW8 they were “considering the best uses of the life-changing prize.”

A customer at Hometown Gas & Grill.
The winner chose to remain anonymous.

The winner is the first Mega Millions champion in Maine, which is played in 45 in addition to Washington, D.C. and the US Virgin Islands. They succeeded against narrow odds of 1 to 302.6 million.

January’s eye-watering total is also the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot since 1996, USA Today added.

The first is a $1.537 billion prize claimed in South Carolina in Oct. 2018.

With Post wires