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By David K. Li
The winner of the $1.5 billion lottery prize — a record for a single winner — came forward in South Carolina nearly five months after the drawing, officials said Monday.
The lucky person has opted to remain anonymous and take a one-time Mega Millions payment of $877,784,124, according to a statement from the South Carolina Education Lottery Commission.
The $877 million payout is before taxes, which will be about 7 percent for the state and 24 percent for federal, according to a commission spokeswoman. The commission said it was the largest jackpot payout to a single winner in U.S. history.
“We are delighted that the winner is a South Carolinian and has come forward to claim this remarkable prize,” Executive Director Hogan Brown said in a statement.
The winner had 180 days to claim the prize — with the April 19 deadline fast approaching.
Had the winner not come forward, the store that sold the winning Mega ticket, KC Mart in Simpsonville, would have been out its $50,000 and the state of South Carolina would have gone without its $61 million share of the total prize.
“We respect the winner’s decision to remain anonymous, and we will honor the winner’s wishes,” Brown said. The commission will not even reveal if the winner is a man or a woman.
The winner bought the Quick Pick ticket on a spur-of-the-moment decision, according to lottery officials.
The person even allowed a fellow customer to get in front of the line at the store to make a Mega Millions lottery ticket purchase, according to a commission statement. “A simple act of kindness led to an amazing outcome.”