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Idaho woman claims 2nd half of $380M Mega Millions jackpot

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Idaho woman claims 2nd half of $380M Mega Millions jackpot

Includes video report

RATHDRUM, Idaho — A 29-year-old mother of two and former bank worker from northern Idaho has claimed the remaining half of a $380 million Mega Millions jackpot, lottery officials and others said Wednesday.

Holly Lahti, of the small town of Rathdrum, will split the second-largest lottery jackpot in history with Jim and Carolyn McCullar of Ephrata, Wash.

The McCullars appeared at a news conference last Thursday to announce they'd won half the jackpot, or $190 million.

Lahti wasn't on hand for Wednesday's announcement in Boise and officials released few details about her, saying she wished to stay out of the spotlight for now.

"She's requested that the media respect her privacy and not attempt to contact her until she's prepared to speak to you," Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson said at a news conference.

He referred to Lahti as a "delightful young lady" and said he tried to persuade her to go public because there are "a lot of curious people out there." But he said she has a lot to get in order first.

"We expect she'll be coming forward shortly," Anderson said.

Public records show Lahti lives in Rathdrum, a town of about 7,000 in the scenic Idaho Panhandle. She had worked since 2007 as a customer service representative at Inland Northwest Bank in nearby Post Falls, but she resigned Monday, said Holly Poquette, the bank's chief financial officer.

Poquette works in Spokane, Wash., and does not know Lahti. But the manager of the Post Falls branch, Sussana Spencer, called Lahti an "amazing person."

"She's going to do wonderful things with the money," Spencer said. She had no details.

Lahti's estranged husband, Josh Lahti of Rathdrum, said Wednesday he did not know Lahti was the winner of the huge Mega Millions prize until he was told by a reporter. But he said she plays the lottery often.

He said the two have been married about a decade but are separated, and they have two daughters, ages 10 and 12.

Nobody was around at the Rathdrum home of Holly Lahti's mother, Elaine C. Alford. But neighbor Eric Miller said Holly Lahti visits her mother almost daily. Miller, 19, also hadn't heard about Holly Lahti's winnings.

"I want to go over there and be her friend now," Miller said laughing. "But she's really nice, very friendly."

Meanwhile, word of Rathdrum's newest multimillionaire began to spread through the fast-growing town about 25 miles northeast of Spokane.

Travis Herron, who works in a local tobacco shop, said he bought 10 tickets for the Mega Millions drawing but didn't win anything.

Herron, 23, said he didn't know Holly Lahti, but added that if he had won $190 million, "I wouldn't want to be talking either, the days and times the way they are."

Although Mega Millions is played in 41 states and Washington, D.C., the two winning tickets were purchased by people living in small towns just 125 miles apart in the Inland Northwest. Ephrata, Wash., has about 7,500 people.

The drawing was held Jan. 4, and residents began buzzing when they found out one of the winning tickets was sold in Post Falls, a suburban community of housing developments, big box stores and fast-food restaurants.

"Once people hear this, Ady's Convenience & Car Wash is going to become the luckiest place in northern Idaho," Anderson said of the store where Lahti bought her ticket.

An Ady's clerk, Leasa Moore, said Lahti bought a ticket at the store the day of the drawing and returned the next day to check the numbers.

"She let out a big scream," Moore said Wednesday. "She was pretty excited."

Moore said Lahti is a regular at the store, which is near the bank where Lahti worked.

"She's a great gal, very levelheaded," Moore added.

The winners had to match five numbers plus the "Mega ball." The numbers were 4, 8, 15, 25 and 47, and 42 as the Mega ball.

Jim, 68, and Carolyn, 63, McCullar had played some combination of those numbers for years because they're based on the couple's birthdays.

Anderson said Lahti let the computer pick her numbers.

Lahti has claimed her winnings but not yet cashed in her ticket, he said. If she takes a lump sum payment, she would get $120 million before taxes. The federal government would take $30 million, while the Idaho State Tax Commission would take a $9 million slice, leaving her with about $80.7 million.

Ady's Convenience & Car Wash receives a $50,000 award.

Lahti is not the first Idaho jackpot winner to try and avoid the media crush and public attention. In 2005, Brad Duke of Boise sought to keep a low profile after winning a $220 million Powerball drawing. Duke assembled a team of lawyers and accountants and asked the Idaho Lottery Commission for complete anonymity.

But former Idaho Lottery Director Roger Simmons denied the request, arguing that state law and the integrity of the lottery required that his name be made public to show he had no ties to lottery employees or vendors.

Duke later appeared at a news conference in Boise and made several appearances on national television talk shows.


Thanks to B$Rizzle for the tip.


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51 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by butterflykt.
Page 1 of 4
Win$500Quick's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
United States
Member #77815
August 1, 2009
3459 Posts
Posted: January 12, 2011, 11:40 pm - IP Logged

Looks like the estranged husband just won $95 Million. Congrats to the young lady and her two daughters. She won $190 million with a quick pick. Wow!

    temptustoo's avatar - cat anm.gif
    United States
    Member #89197
    April 2, 2010
    2817 Posts
    Posted: January 12, 2011, 11:45 pm - IP Logged

    oh that should be a real battle  ..............  what a nightmare... hopefully they will work things out and get back together..  Big Grin Angel

      joshuacloak's avatar - Money Swim-uncle-scrooge-mcduck-35997717-677-518.jpg

      United States
      Member #32537
      February 12, 2006
      698 Posts
      Posted: January 13, 2011, 12:21 am - IP Logged

      she wished to stay out of the spotlight for now."She's requested that the media respect her privacy and not attempt to contact her until she's prepared to speak to you,


      what a dumb idea, media does not respect privacy let alone public at large, why do people want privacy yet not go the hide behind a trust and a lawyers name is beyond me

      if the lottery ,state  says they must give a name, 2 can play dirty, its called hide behind the legal entity's game, aka trusts and laywers

      fact her name out their, she will be hunted down now, she must know this, guest these people who win large jackpots, want privacy yet have their name out their, Must learn the Hard way!

      i love how on some lottery changed my life ep shows, i love seeing Really large winners, get god knows how many letters asking for money, and the winner like i just want to be left alone

      will you should of never made your name public, geez


      she better buy a new home  where no one even knows about it besides her close family, kids etc

      , live where no one knows about her,

      and hide, as thats the only way she getting privacy now,

      she must become untraceable, old house, old address, old area you use to live in, has to now be left out of her life  or they find her,   , people wanting privacy with their names being know,

      thats making it as hard on your self as you can at best for wanting privacy, at the worst, its just flat out idiotic

      ether way, i hope she and her kids enjoy the cash,maybe she can home school them, as now ever kid in their school will soon know their loaded

        glad to see a quick pick won the other half, with the other being self pack

        sully16's avatar - sharan
        United States
        Member #81740
        October 28, 2009
        40402 Posts
        Posted: January 13, 2011, 4:52 am - IP Logged

        Congratulations to Holly and her family.

        Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

        For a lead role in a cage?


                                                    From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

          United States
          Member #102882
          December 27, 2010
          334 Posts
          Posted: January 13, 2011, 8:18 am - IP Logged

          Glad for her that she won. Sorry for her for all the vicious pirannhas out there that will have her in their sights.

            United States
            Member #102882
            December 27, 2010
            334 Posts
            Posted: January 13, 2011, 8:25 am - IP Logged

            Looks like the estranged husband just won $95 Million. Congrats to the young lady and her two daughters. She won $190 million with a quick pick. Wow!

            OK. Just to be clear, I looked up the definition of "estranged". Estranged does not mean already divorced. Looks like the "estranged" husband just won 1/4 of the 380 million jackpot. This sucks for her, but great for him.

              butterflykt's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg

              United States
              Member #102743
              December 25, 2010
              108 Posts
              Posted: January 13, 2011, 8:57 am - IP Logged

              Congratulations to Holly.... I bet her "estranged" husband is one happy _________.....you know the rest!  LOL

              All things are possible to those that believe!!!!!!Wink

                New Member

                United States
                Member #104334
                January 13, 2011
                1 Posts
                Posted: January 13, 2011, 9:15 am - IP Logged

                Anyone know how Brad Duke could've collected without revealing his name?

                  B$Rizzle's avatar - a4leds
                  The Ville, FL
                  United States
                  Member #95879
                  August 19, 2010
                  1708 Posts
                  Posted: January 13, 2011, 9:15 am - IP Logged

                  Congratulations to Holly.... I bet her "estranged" husband is one happy _________.....you know the rest!  LOL

                  YEP! I remember on LP there was a story a while back regarding a guy who won several Mill and he was divorced. Once his ex-wife found out she sued him and the judge awarded her a few Mill...( If I can remember corectly)

                    kyokushin187's avatar - evildead2
                    United States
                    Member #102636
                    December 23, 2010
                    245 Posts
                    Posted: January 13, 2011, 9:37 am - IP Logged

                    He should have waited about two months  got his affairs straight and created a trust to cash ticket. If would have waited all the hoop about who won would have died down. But now he will be besieged with talk show offers,news interviews beggars etc.

                      New Member
                      Russell, Pa
                      United States
                      Member #104338
                      January 13, 2011
                      1 Posts
                      Posted: January 13, 2011, 10:01 am - IP Logged

                      I hope she doesn't have to give him a cent.  There's always reason for seperation. He doesn't deserve

                      any of it, it was her working money that bought the ticket, nothing from him.  I wish her luck and happiness.  Now all the losers will come out of the woodwork to try and hook you.  Turn them all away.

                        Monkey Butt, USA
                        United States
                        Member #54569
                        August 23, 2007
                        1124 Posts
                        Posted: January 13, 2011, 10:29 am - IP Logged

                        Rule of common sense should be if you are in a dysfunctional relationship, do not play the jackpot games until you are completely out of it.

                        Focus on the pick 5 games. So you don't have to worry about the greedy vipers taking half of what you won.

                        I am happy for this woman but miffed that the "estranged" husband is about to walk off with half of what should be all hers.

                        Live and learn.

                          Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                          Zeta Reticuli Star System
                          United States
                          Member #30470
                          January 17, 2006
                          10348 Posts
                          Posted: January 13, 2011, 10:48 am - IP Logged


                          Considering some of the threads here on LP about exes being granted shares of jackpots, I don't think it would matter if a person was "completely out" of a relationship or not.

                          Isn't there a thread in the news about someone who had been divorced for 10 years surfacing, asking for half of a jackpot, and getting it?

                          Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.


                          There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                            visiondude's avatar - eye3logo
                            light on my feet
                            United States
                            Member #356
                            May 20, 2002
                            2744 Posts
                            Posted: January 13, 2011, 11:15 am - IP Logged

                            sweet.   another win for the quick piggies

                            now delta draw can come back to extol the virtues of staying with QP's as a "methodology"  to insure a JP win,  seeing how he was insinuating it wasn't random for the other claimant of this JP to stick with his bday numbers, and that's the reason the guy won......lol

                            play your numbers within your means,  play your birthday numbers or throw 1QP at it.....it's still random

                            she and her husband may be apart,  but just because she won the JP doesn't mean she wasn't the cause of their breakup.

                            he may very well be the "good guy" in that scenario

                            lottery, fame, fortune, wealth, etc......they all have a way of twisting what's really true in the values of life category.

                            why you can be charlie sheen,  and it's still considered "good"...


                                        "i am .........."meant to"       

                            P.S.,  that RJoH  is a stand up guy.  thanks,  vision

                                     until further notice,  it's  france everyday