$55 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot claimed by immigrant couple

Oct 24, 2006, 7:08 am (17 comments)

Mega Millions

After being orphaned at an early age, Xia Rattanakone often dreamed of going back to her native country of Laos to find her family.

Now, thanks to six mega lucky numbers, the 44-year-old North Bend resident is one step closer to her wish. On Monday, she and her husband, Sommay, revealed themselves as the winners of last Tuesday's $55 million Mega Millions jackpot — the second biggest jackpot in the state's history.

The couple said they now plan to return to their native Laos to look for Xia's family.

"We felt so great to get the winning tickets," Sommay Rattanakone said. "It was so happy and at the same time it was mixed feelings."

For five days, Washington Lottery officials knew a winning ticket was purchased at a Safeway store in North Bend, but no one had come forward to claim the prize. On Monday morning, the Rattanakones walked into the Washington Lottery offices in Seattle with the winning ticket in hand.

They had known about their good fortune since last week, but the North Bend couple decided to wait until Monday to claim their winnings — Xia said she had to ask for a day off work.

In state history, the couple's winnings are second only to a $93 million prize won in November 2002, according to the Washington Lottery.

Sommay, 52, works for Seattle Public Schools as a bilingual instructional aide, and Xia is temporarily employed at Nintendo. They have two sons, a 22-year-old and a 14-year-old.

On Monday, they were given an initial check for $1.59 million.

The couple opted for the lump-sum payment option which, after taxes, will be about $23 million, said Liz Anderson, a spokeswoman for Washington Lottery.

"I plan to retire," Sommay said with a smile.

Their new financial fortune is a relief for the family that has worked hard since immigrating, Sommay said.

It was Xia who bought the winning ticket, but she let the computer choose the six numbers — 6, 18, 20, 28 and 38, with the Mega Ball number 37.

On Wednesday, Sommay brought home the results and told Xia three times to wait until after his nap to check if they had won. She didn't. She had a feeling.

Soon, Sommay heard Xia scream and saw her jump in excitement.

"My nap was over," he said, laughing.

Both of them lost sleep thinking about their future, Sommay said.

One of the first decisions they made, though, was deciding to take a trip to Laos. It would be their first return to Laos since immigrating to the United States. Xia left Laos with her adoptive family in 1979 and Sommay the following year.

The couple plan to donate money to the Catholic orphanage where Xia grew up.

Paying off their mortgage and saving for their sons' college tuition are the only other immediate plans the new millionaires have.

Buying lottery tickets is a weekly ritual for the couple, and they don't plan to stop.

"I will continue to buy," Sommay said shrugging his shoulders. "Who knows?"

Sommay said winning the lottery felt like jumping into cold water. At first, there's hesitation, even though the water will get warmer after swimming.

"Now, we are swimming," he said.

Seattle Times

Comments

MichiganHopeful's avatarMichiganHopeful

Congrats to them...another Quick Pick winner.

 Hopefully one day it will happen for me. See Ya!

Kidzmom's avatarKidzmom

Congratulations!  I hope they do find their family.Party

CA LotteryGuy

Something is strange about  this story.

(Note: Washington has no income tax on lottery winnings)

"On Monday, they were given an initial check for $1.59 million."  (Note: this is the correct amount for the first year annuity payment; $55M divided by 26 years allowing for 25% federal witholding.)

"The couple opted for the lump-sum payment option which, after taxes, would be about $23 million, said Liz Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Washington Lottery. "  (Note: the $23 million number is correct based upon the Ohio cash estimate of $31.7 million allowing for 25% federal witholding and rounding.)

Which was it, the lump-sum or annuity?

Why would a lump-sum winner get an initial payment?

Do you think the lottery actually gave them a check that day for $1.59 million?

Does Washington have some different way of paying out the lump-sum? 

weshar75's avatarweshar75

Well now I know who got my Jackpot!  Congrats to the winners!-weshar75

TheMaker's avatarTheMaker

Quote: Originally posted by weshar75 on Oct 24, 2006

Well now I know who got my Jackpot!  Congrats to the winners!-weshar75

I Agree! Congrats to them and may the spend it wisely and find their family. Invest in stocks and cds, winners. Your money will go a long way.

Sun Smiley

liberal47's avatarliberal47

In Michigan, and apparently Washingtion, you do have the option to ask your state lottery for a portion of the winnings, and have them hold the rest til your lawyer can pick it up and deposit it in your new Trust fund, or whatever vehicle you choose. A 300 Million plus Mega winner here in Michigan, went into the lottery bureau a couple of days after winning, and picked up a check for 300,000 dollars, bought a motorhome paid a few bills, and hit the road, leaving their legal eagle to lay investment plans. Sounds like a good idea to me.

CA LotteryGuy

Quote: Originally posted by liberal47 on Oct 24, 2006

In Michigan, and apparently Washingtion, you do have the option to ask your state lottery for a portion of the winnings, and have them hold the rest til your lawyer can pick it up and deposit it in your new Trust fund, or whatever vehicle you choose. A 300 Million plus Mega winner here in Michigan, went into the lottery bureau a couple of days after winning, and picked up a check for 300,000 dollars, bought a motorhome paid a few bills, and hit the road, leaving their legal eagle to lay investment plans. Sounds like a good idea to me.

liberal47...thanks for the information.  Sounds like a great plan to get the amount of money the equal to the first years annuity payment (which would be in cash, whether you chose annuity or lump-sum) and then let your financial advisors handle the rest!

justxploring's avatarjustxploring

Quote: Originally posted by CA LotteryGuy on Oct 24, 2006

liberal47...thanks for the information.  Sounds like a great plan to get the amount of money the equal to the first years annuity payment (which would be in cash, whether you chose annuity or lump-sum) and then let your financial advisors handle the rest!

I agree ---- that is, as long as he's still there when you get back!!

gocart1's avatargocart1

dreams do come true ,,,,,,,sometimes

dingo's avatardingo

"dreams do come true ,,,,,,,sometimes"

 

One day prior to the drawing I had a dream. No 6 and 37 were all I saw, the rest in the middle of the numbers were very blurry. 

 

On Sunday I dreamt that I was holding a winning ticket for $90 Mil. When I looked at it, I only saw  number 5 -- -- -- -- and 12. Just like that. The feeling of winning the lottery is awsome even in dream. During last week I had two sweet dreams, this and the other. Could anyone here read a dream? I had a strange dream two days before this one also.

petergrfn

I hope it wasn't this guy you were talking about

Lottery winner arrested
Ralph Stebbins accused of stabbing man

 http://www.thetimesherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061012/NEWS01/610120302/1002

 

 

A news story I saw on google if so this guy is off to a bad start and will likely end up like Jack Whittaker regretting his lottery win instead of laying low and enjoying the money.

Litebets27's avatarLitebets27

Congratulations to the Rattanakones on their win. I was feeling pretty confident that week that I was holding the winning ticket. Of course, I wasn't.

I like the fact that they were being truthful to themselves about continuing to play the lottery after their win.

Too many people say they will stop playing after such a win, even those who habitually have to run out and play everyday will lie to themselves by saying, if I win the jackpot, I'm going to stop playing.

I wish them much luck.

litebets

starchild_45's avatarstarchild_45

Quote: Originally posted by CA LotteryGuy on Oct 24, 2006

Something is strange about  this story.

(Note: Washington has no income tax on lottery winnings)

"On Monday, they were given an initial check for $1.59 million."  (Note: this is the correct amount for the first year annuity payment; $55M divided by 26 years allowing for 25% federal witholding.)

"The couple opted for the lump-sum payment option which, after taxes, would be about $23 million, said Liz Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Washington Lottery. "  (Note: the $23 million number is correct based upon the Ohio cash estimate of $31.7 million allowing for 25% federal witholding and rounding.)

Which was it, the lump-sum or annuity?

Why would a lump-sum winner get an initial payment?

Do you think the lottery actually gave them a check that day for $1.59 million?

Does Washington have some different way of paying out the lump-sum? 

I can't answer your other questions but i can answer this one. Do you think the lottery actually gave them a check that day for $1.59 million? yes this is standard procedure for powerball and megamillion winnings.

win some one wins one of these games top prizes they collect immediately (minus taxes) what the state collected in that game. then the other states have to figure out what they collected and then forward it on the winning state. this takes 3 to 4 weeks.

the biggest one i saw was jack whitatker (forgive me if i got the name wrong) from west virginia when he won that 300+ million on powerball. west virginia gave him 10 million the day he came to collect and he got the rest a few weeks later.

it used to be you had to wait that same amount of time. you would here of big lotto winners getting vouchers so they could go to a auto dealer and get that big car or truck they wanted. now they just give the money.

FINALLY LET ME SAY HURRAH FOR WASHINGTON FOR WINNING MEGA MILLION. HURRAH HURRAH. i am a washingtonian and i am glad we won again. 4 years has been a long a## time. i didn't realize it has been that long. i hope it comes around again real soon and your author will be the next WASHINGTONIAN TO WIN. HELLO MR MEGA COME TO MY HOUSE AND TAKE ME AWAY FROM THE WORK WORLD.

JackpotWanna's avatarJackpotWanna


I wish it was me.  $55 Million please come my way.   Smile

 

 

 

Party

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