The first winner to claim a lottery jackpot anonymously in the state
By Kate Northrop
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey had its very first anonymous winner step forward to claim the $202 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot from the Feb. 11, 2020 drawing.
The winner is the first player in the state to decline publicity since New Jersey passed a new law in January 2020 that allows winners to remain anonymous when claiming a lottery prize.
The change in the law was well-timed for this lucky player — just one month after it was passed, someone from New Jersey won the $202 million Mega Millions jackpot.
On Wed. Feb. 12, 2020, the day after the draw, the New Jersey Lottery announced that the lone top prize-winning ticket was sold in New Jersey. The soon-to-be winner saw the announcement on Facebook that same day and went to their car to get their lottery ticket out.
Floored with the realization that they held the only jackpot-winning ticket, they managed to overcome their shock and compose themselves enough to get back to work.
That same day, the Lottery held an in-person press conference at the Quick Stop Food Store on Inman Avenue in Edison, the convenience store where the lucky ticket was sold. There, Executive Director James Carey handed a $30,000 bonus commission check to shop owner Kaushik Patel and congratulated the retailer for selling the ticket. Carey also had some advice for the unknown winner.
"We always tell people when you win — sign the back of that ticket right away," Carey said. "Then put it in a safe place, talk to an attorney, talk to a financial advisor, and come to us and claim that ticket."
Overwhelmed by the good news, the winner was unsure what the next steps were. They tuned in to the press conference live on Facebook and followed his advice to the letter. Immediately after the live event, they signed the ticket and consulted a lawyer, who provided them with a comprehensive plan on how to proceed with claiming such a massive amount of money.
Whoever the anonymous winner may be, they probably will stay out of the public eye for a long time.
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