Guy Travels From Baghdad to Collect US Lottery Jackpot

Fearing kidnapping, he's keeping his name secret
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2015 1:36 AM CST
A customer fills out a lottery form for a Mega Millions drawing.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

(Newser) – Oregon lottery officials generally announce the names of jackpot winners, but they've decided to make an exception for a man who fears he could be killed or kidnapped if people back home in Baghdad find out about his $6.4 million win. The winner, an Iraqi Kurd, traveled to Oregon this month to collect the Megabucks jackpot, which he won with a ticket bought through a private online service, the Oregonian reports. Oregon Lottery spokesman Chuck Baumann says the win is "absolutely unprecedented," but experts consulted by lottery officials believe the online sale was legal, NBC News reports.

The Iraqi winner, described by lottery officials as a "personable" man in his 40s, opted to take the prize in installments over 25 years, which works out to $158,720 a year—or 175 million Iraqi dinars—after taxes, the Oregonian reports. The winning ticket was bought on Aug. 24 and it would have expired a year later. "We thought he might be waiting for the new tax year or something like that," Baumann tells the Oregonian. "Never in our wildest imagination did we think he was in Iraq trying to figure out how to get here." (A California man who won $1,000 on a scratch-off ticket decided to "let it ride"—and won $10 million moments later.)

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