The South Dakota Lottery was contacted Tuesday by a Pierre lawyer representing someone who claims to have the winning Powerball lottery ticket worth nearly $117 million.
"The attorney has shared some information about the ticket, some unique information about the ticket, that indicates it is likely a legitimate claim," said Mike Mueller, state lottery advertising and public relations director.
The winning ticket for the May 17 drawing was sold in South Dakota's capital city, but no one has yet come forward to claim the prize.
Mueller said lottery officials on Tuesday provided the attorney with information to help the potential winner start making decisions about how to handle the largest jackpot ever won in South Dakota. Lottery officials explained tax information, options for taking the prize in cash or annual payments, and the time frame for claiming a prize, he said.
Mueller said the potential winner still may not step forward right away.
"It still could be some time. It sounds like they are being deliberate in the decisions they are making by having the attorney contact us, which is just fine," Mueller said. "When they are comfortable, they will come forward."
Mueller said the attorney provided no information about the winner's identity.
The winner has 180 days to claim the jackpot and will have the option of getting the $116.8 million prize in 29 annual payments or taking it in a $51.6 million lump sum.
Norm Lingle, executive director of the South Dakota Lottery, has said the lottery office is obligated to withhold 25 percent of the winnings and turn it over to the Internal Revenue Service.
The largest Powerball jackpot previously won in South Dakota was $101 million, which was shared in February 2003 by 34 Watertown factory workers and a winner in Indiana. The Watertown group received $50.9 million in that drawing.