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California waiting for Mega Millions winner to emerge

Mega MillionsMega Millions: California waiting for Mega Millions winner to emerge
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SAN JOSE, Calif. — With each passing day, the mystery deepens.

Someone, somewhere, is in possession of a lucky Mega Millions lottery ticket worth $324 million that was purchased at a small San Jose shop on Dec. 17.

We know the winning numbers: 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 and a mega number of 7. But what's still unknown is who holds the golden slip of paper that represents a passport into the land of unfathomable riches.

"We're still waiting," said Russ Lopez, a California Lottery spokesman. "But we're urging them to just come forward, let us help you with the initial madness, and then start the next chapter of your new life. It's going to be a heck of a ride."

But outside Jenny's Gift & Kids Wear, a store tucked away in a Tully Road strip mall where the precious ticket was sold, security guard Mel Cruz said Saturday that he just hopes it wasn't somehow lost.

"Everybody here is happy," said Cruz, 64. "It's exciting. But we're all asking: 'Why hasn't it been claimed yet?'"

So for now, the focus has centered upon store owner Thuy Nguyen, and he's not exactly enjoying the spotlight. Sure, at first he was thrilled with the attention. After all, he smiled for the cameras while holding an oversized, honorary check for $1 million that he will receive sometime in the coming weeks for selling the lottery ticket.

But Nguyen's voice has become raspy from too much talking and he's weary of posing for pictures with customers. He talks about "a lot of drama." And he has been asked the same question over and over.

Who won?

"I know everybody wants to find out, but I don't know," said Nguyen, who emigrated from Vietnam 20 years ago and has owned the store for four months. "I want to know who won, too. But it's up to that person about what to do. I just sold the ticket. This is a gift from God, and I'm happy for them."

Nguyen spoke between waiting on a steady stream of older Vietnamese men who entered to buy a variety of lottery tickets. They had to pass under a new California Lottery sign that read: Millionaire Made Here. Are You Next?

"People ask me, "Can you sleep?'" he added. "Well I sleep good. I still have to get up early every morning, go to work and take care of my family. I'm just very tired. I was excited for about 15 minutes, but now it's so over."

The ticket he sold was one of two winners in the $648 million drawing — the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history. The other newly minted multimillionaire, Ira Curry of Georgia, claimed her winnings and immediately dropped out of sight. She is taking her bonanza as a lump sum — $123 million after taxes.

The mystery ticket will carry less of a tax bite because unlike Georgia, California does not take a share of lottery windfalls. It's worth $173 million, before Uncle Sam's cut, if taken as a lump sum.

The winner has up to a year to claim the prize.

By this point, lottery officials are assuming that whoever holds the ticket knows that they struck it rich and are seeking legal and financial counsel — something they say is smart.

But Lopez has his own advice to add. He suggests the winner end the suspense, claim the prize and speak publicly because it will be impossible to keep a low profile.

"This is such a big winner and there's so much attention," Lopez said. "The media all want to ask the same questions. How does it feel? What were you thinking when you bought the ticket? Do it once and that way, you satisfy the public's curiosity."

While the winner doesn't have to appear at a news conference — Curry didn't in Georgia — the name is required to be made public in the interest of transparency.

"There is no hiding," Lopez added. "There is no anonymity. There is no claiming a prize as a trust. You will be known."

While it may sound inconceivable, winning tickets often are not returned. Lopez said this past fiscal year, which ended in June, saw $22 million in winnings go unclaimed. That money instead went to California schools, which is the lottery's beneficiary.

Another example came in November when the winner of a $465,539 Powerball prize sold in Los Angeles missed the 180-day deadline to claim the prize.

But this is a winning ticket on a completely different scale.

It's also why Cruz, the security guard, said he has met people in recent days from as far away as Salinas and Sacramento who have bought lottery tickets at the San Jose store.

"Everyone knows this is a lucky place now," he said.

Meanwhile, the waiting game continues.

"Everything we do at the lottery is about this moment — someone buying a $1 ticket and changing their life forever," Lopez said. "We're like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and every other magical creature who makes dreams come true, all rolled up in one."

But apparently they don't know who won, either.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

San Jose Mercury News

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32 comments. Last comment 6 months ago by jamella724.
Page 1 of 3
Lucky4Life's avatar - batman14

United States
Member #85038
January 7, 2010
187 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 31, 2013, 1:08 pm - IP Logged

This is a VERY smart winner...waiting until after the new year.  Exactly what I would have done!

    Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    Member #103816
    January 5, 2011
    1530 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: December 31, 2013, 1:23 pm - IP Logged

    "There is no hiding," Lopez added. "There is no anonymity. There is no claiming a prize as a trust. You will be known."

    Heh, heh...yeah, no hiding in Cali. They changed the rules earlier this year. The guy is probably trying to figure out how he can hide, Cool but no such luck. Sorry Charlie. Mad

    They'll probably release the store video of the suspected winner to the TV news in a few weeks/months to force them to come forward. CA lottery likes to do that. 

      Avatar

      United States
      Member #24339
      October 21, 2005
      18 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 31, 2013, 1:23 pm - IP Logged

      How does the mystery deepen?  Seems to be the exact same mystery as the day before.

        Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
        Clarksville
        United States
        Member #487
        July 15, 2002
        17638 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 31, 2013, 1:51 pm - IP Logged

        That lottery winner is waiting until AFTER Jan 1, 2014 to claim their winnings which to me is very smart!  they took the time to move, disable their FB page, and change their phone numbers!

        If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

        You never know when you will get another hit.

          RedStang's avatar - mustangstu zps4c591ef5.jpg
          Dutchess , NY
          United States
          Member #121966
          January 21, 2012
          2516 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 31, 2013, 2:44 pm - IP Logged

          I hope this isn't another When Julio met Patel story.

            hearsetrax's avatar - 78638c467ef281febf24383e126f74b6

            United States
            Member #52345
            May 21, 2007
            1788 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 31, 2013, 4:06 pm - IP Logged

            I hope this isn't another When Julio met Patel story.

            Green laugh

            now that would be funny if thats what is transpiring

              Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
              RIGHT HERE!!
              United States
              Member #123295
              February 17, 2012
              2085 Posts
              Online
              Posted: December 31, 2013, 4:41 pm - IP Logged

              I hope this isn't another When Julio met Patel story.

              You lost me...What? What is that?

              ...the secret to Luck is never to trust it...

              2012 wins:$20 loss:$200  2013 wins:$100 loss:$270.00

              2014 Jan $0 (no play) Feb $0/$46 March $280/$58 April $80/$47 May $0/$35 June $0/$32

                      July $0/$11

              -$218.00

                Avatar
                New Member
                Oakland, CA
                United States
                Member #149775
                December 8, 2013
                9 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: December 31, 2013, 5:27 pm - IP Logged

                Ditto what is When Julio met Patel? I googled it, couldn't find anything. As for the winner- if I had to guess, they're waiting as long as possible until the 60 day lump sum option expires, hoping that someone else wins a medium sized lottery so that they can get a little more lost in the news shuffle + have everything ready to go to disappear, start new...Or they lost the ticket.

                  mypiemaster's avatar - peace
                  He who dies with the most toys WINS!!!.

                  United States
                  Member #141039
                  April 2, 2013
                  653 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: December 31, 2013, 5:35 pm - IP Logged

                  It should be really interesting, if the holder of this ticket, is one of the lowly illegal aliens, who service the gazillionaires in the silicon valley.

                  Seekand ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

                  Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

                    cbr$'s avatar - maren
                    Cordova,Al.
                    United States
                    Member #104485
                    January 15, 2011
                    260 Posts
                    Online
                    Posted: December 31, 2013, 6:58 pm - IP Logged

                    With each passing day, the mystery deepens.

                    Someone, somewhere, is in possession of a lucky Mega Millions lottery ticket worth $324 million that was purchased at a small San Jose shop on Dec. 17.

                    We know the winning numbers: 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 and a mega number of 7. But what's still unknown is who holds the golden slip of paper that represents a passport into the land of unfathomable riches.

                    "We're still waiting," said Russ Lopez, a California Lottery spokesman. "But we're urging them to just come forward, let us help you with the initial madness, and then start the next chapter of your new life. It's going to be a heck of a ride."

                    But outside Jenny's Gift & Kids Wear, a store tucked away in a Tully Road strip mall where the precious ticket was sold, security guard Mel Cruz said Saturday that he just hopes it wasn't somehow lost.

                    "Everybody here is happy," said Cruz, 64. "It's exciting. But we're all asking: 'Why hasn't it been claimed yet?'"

                    So for now, the focus has centered upon store owner Thuy Nguyen, and he's not exactly enjoying the spotlight. Sure, at first he was thrilled with the attention. After all, he smiled for the cameras while holding an oversized, honorary check for $1 million that he will receive sometime in the coming weeks for selling the lottery ticket.

                    But Nguyen's voice has become raspy from too much talking and he's weary of posing for pictures with customers. He talks about "a lot of drama." And he has been asked the same question over and over.

                    Who won?

                    "I know everybody wants to find out, but I don't know," said Nguyen, who emigrated from Vietnam 20 years ago and has owned the store for four months. "I want to know who won, too. But it's up to that person about what to do. I just sold the ticket. This is a gift from God, and I'm happy for them."

                    Nguyen spoke between waiting on a steady stream of older Vietnamese men who entered to buy a variety of lottery tickets. They had to pass under a new California Lottery sign that read: Millionaire Made Here. Are You Next?

                    "People ask me, "Can you sleep?'" he added. "Well I sleep good. I still have to get up early every morning, go to work and take care of my family. I'm just very tired. I was excited for about 15 minutes, but now it's so over."

                    The ticket he sold was one of two winners in the $648 million drawing — the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history. The other newly minted multimillionaire, Ira Curry of Georgia, claimed her winnings and immediately dropped out of sight. She is taking her bonanza as a lump sum — $123 million after taxes.

                    The mystery ticket will carry less of a tax bite because unlike Georgia, California does not take a share of lottery windfalls. It's worth $173 million, before Uncle Sam's cut, if taken as a lump sum.

                    The winner has up to a year to claim the prize.

                    By this point, lottery officials are assuming that whoever holds the ticket knows that they struck it rich and are seeking legal and financial counsel — something they say is smart.

                    But Lopez has his own advice to add. He suggests the winner end the suspense, claim the prize and speak publicly because it will be impossible to keep a low profile.

                    "This is such a big winner and there's so much attention," Lopez said. "The media all want to ask the same questions. How does it feel? What were you thinking when you bought the ticket? Do it once and that way, you satisfy the public's curiosity."

                    While the winner doesn't have to appear at a news conference — Curry didn't in Georgia — the name is required to be made public in the interest of transparency.

                    "There is no hiding," Lopez added. "There is no anonymity. There is no claiming a prize as a trust. You will be known."

                    While it may sound inconceivable, winning tickets often are not returned. Lopez said this past fiscal year, which ended in June, saw $22 million in winnings go unclaimed. That money instead went to California schools, which is the lottery's beneficiary.

                    Another example came in November when the winner of a $465,539 Powerball prize sold in Los Angeles missed the 180-day deadline to claim the prize.

                    But this is a winning ticket on a completely different scale.

                    It's also why Cruz, the security guard, said he has met people in recent days from as far away as Salinas and Sacramento who have bought lottery tickets at the San Jose store.

                    "Everyone knows this is a lucky place now," he said.

                    Meanwhile, the waiting game continues.

                    "Everything we do at the lottery is about this moment — someone buying a $1 ticket and changing their life forever," Lopez said. "We're like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and every other magical creature who makes dreams come true, all rolled up in one."

                    But apparently they don't know who won, either.

                    News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                    This person could be gotting legal counceling & advice. Also looking At new homes. Just because they want to keep their privacy after , that one have to appearance.

                      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                      -Ridge Runner- Oracle of the Appalachians
                      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                      United States
                      Member #73904
                      April 28, 2009
                      14903 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: December 31, 2013, 7:27 pm - IP Logged

                      This person could be gotting legal counceling & advice. Also looking At new homes. Just because they want to keep their privacy after , that one have to appearance.

                      Sounds like you're hittin' the sauce a little early tonight, cbr$.   Thumbs Up

                        Avatar

                        United States
                        Member #131127
                        August 2, 2012
                        57 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: December 31, 2013, 8:16 pm - IP Logged

                        This person could be gotting legal counceling & advice. Also looking At new homes. Just because they want to keep their privacy after , that one have to appearance.

                        I agree. That lotto spoke person is a moron. If he was getting hounded after a lotto win we would see how he feels about NO HIDING comment. I hate pricks like that.

                        Also CA law only can pick cash option for 60 days? Even though claim with in a year? That would suck let people get there life in order they are being smart.

                          JonnyBgood07's avatar - Patriots logo1.jpg
                          Connecticut
                          United States
                          Member #61623
                          May 29, 2008
                          19321 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: December 31, 2013, 8:37 pm - IP Logged

                          It should be really interesting, if the holder of this ticket, is one of the lowly illegal aliens, who service the gazillionaires in the silicon valley.

                          was thinking the same thing.

                          "...Life is not a matter of holding good cards,but sometimes playing a poor hand well...
                          'Fortune Cookie wisdom'

                           


                            Lucky4Life's avatar - batman14

                            United States
                            Member #85038
                            January 7, 2010
                            187 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: December 31, 2013, 9:20 pm - IP Logged

                            I just hope (dare I say it) the ticket wasn't lost.  Maybe somebody will rake it up Jester Laugh