Two mystery winners have claimed the $1.34 billion prize from the Mega Millions lottery — eight weeks after they bought the tickets for the third-biggest lottery jackpot in US history at a gas station in Illinois.
The couple — who chose to remain anonymous — received the award on July 29 after working with professional legal and financial advisors before selecting the $780.5 million lump sum payment, officials said Wednesday.
They bought the winning ticket during a routine stop at the Speedway in Des Plaines, Illinois, and agreed to share the prize if they won. “It turned out to be a completely life-changing decision when a $3 Mega Millions line with Megaplier turned into a $1.34 billion jackpot,” said Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays.
“These winners are now in the enviable position of deciding what to do with their new fortune.” Winners had a full year to claim the prize, but only 60 days — or until Sept. 27 — to choose to receive the lump sum of $780.5 million.
The Illinois Lottery’s director of claims, Luis Rodriguez, said it was “the biggest prize I’ve ever had to process” in his five years on the job. “When we met with the lawyers for the winners there was a real buzz of excitement in the room,” he said. “It’s a surreal feeling to give this amount of money and know what a huge impact it will make on the lives of the winners, and for others close to them as well.
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