File photo. 7-Eleven assistant manager M. Faroqui celebrates after selling the winning near-$1.6 billion Powerball Lottery ticket in Chino Hills, Calif. on Wednesday night, Jan. 13, 2016. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ Southern California News Group)
Six months after a $1.6 billion Powerball lottery jackpot set records, the holder of the winning ticket bought at a Chino Hills 7-Eleven has finally come forward.
“Chino Hills HUGE winner finally claims,” a tweet from the California Lottery at 9:03 a.m. Tuesday.
Marvin and Mae Acosta were announced as the winners. Their home town was not revealed.
The couple wants “to remain as private as possible,” the tweet says.
The drawing Jan. 13 set off a nationwide frenzy, with ultimately three tickets poised to share the jackpot, or $528.8 million apiece. When word got out that California’s winning ticket was sold at the 7-Eleven at 4092 Chino Hills Parkway, owned by Balbir Atwal, the store quickly filled with people celebrating the win — but the actual winner was not among them.
The winning ticket holders from Tennessee came forward almost immediately, while the Florida winners took about a month to reveal themselves.
“We finally know who our mystery winners are! It may have taken six months for them to come to one of our offices, but these winners did just what we tell all our winners to do — they read our Winner’s Handbook and then assembled a team of legal and financial advisers to help them make the most of this windfall and prepare them for their new life as Lottery winners,” California Lottery Director Hugo Lopez said in a statement.
“We couldn’t be happier for them and are thrilled they took the time to assemble the right team before coming in to claim,” Lopez said.
The couple is refusing all interviews and requests for photographs, according to lottery officials. They did release this statement:
“We are thankful and blessed for the rare gift that has been placed in our care. We have engaged a team of advisers to educate and guide us through this process so that we can be good stewards of these new resources. While many decisions are still to be made, we have committed nearly all of this new resource to a Trust and to charities that are important to us. While we are very grateful for the wonderful wishes and encouragement we’ve received, it is not our intention to become public figures, and we ask for and appreciate privacy going forward. Thank you.”
The Chino Hills winner remained shrouded in mystery for months. Initially, several hoaxters claimed ownership of the golden ticket. Meanwhile, Atwal collected his $1 million for owning the business that sold the ticket, and the clerk who handled the transaction, M. Faroqui, enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame, landing a guest spot on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
According to the California Lottery, the Acostas declined a 30-year annuity worth $528.8 million before federal taxes, opting for a one-time payment of $327.8 million, like the Tennessee and Florida couples did.
Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Unlike the California-only SuperLotto Plus jackpot winners — who must come forward with their ticket within 180 days of the draw date — Powerball winners have a year to stake their claimSource: dailybulletin.com