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'Simple Act of Kindness' Led to Biggest US Lottery Payout

Anonymous winner claims $1.5B jackpot
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2019 1:43 AM CST
Updated Mar 5, 2019 6:11 AM CST

(Newser) – The winner of the single biggest lottery jackpot payout in US history has come forward, weeks ahead of the deadline—but we may never know their name. Officials in South Carolina, one of eight states that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, say the winner of October's $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot has claimed their prize but decided not to reveal their identity, NBC4 reports. The winner, who had until April 19 to claim the prize, has opted for a lump-sum payment of close to $878 million, reports the AP. The only bigger prize in American lottery history, a $1.585 billion Powerball jackpot in Jan. 2016, was split between winners in three states.

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The South Carolina Lottery says the winning ticket was bought Oct. 23 at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, a Greenville suburb. The organization says the winner allowed a fellow customer buying lottery tickets to go ahead of them in line at the store, the Washington Post reports. "A simple act of kindness led to an amazing outcome," officials say. "We are delighted that the winner is a South Carolinian and has come forward to claim this remarkable prize," says lottery director Hogan Brown. "We respect the winner's decision to remain anonymous, and we will honor the winner's wishes." The state, which had worried that the prize would go unclaimed, will receive around $61 million in income tax. (This office pool gave away its Mega Millions winnings.)

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