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$180 Million Mega Millions Jackpot Winner Claims Fortune in Riverside County Calimesa Dad Describes Crazy Sequence of Events Leading up to Shock of his Life!
There was some very "weird stuff going on" the day before and the day of the August 22 Mega Millions draw and nobody is more superstitious than 53-year-old Rick Knudsen.

The now retired RWC Building Products Branch Manager from Calimesa said he knew then it was time to buy a ticket for the $180 million jackpot, even though he only plays the lottery maybe five times a year. "I don't play unless I feel lucky, and the jackpot is high. I felt lucky," Knudsen recalled. That might be an understatement.

This is a truly unbelievable story of some very strange coincidences related to purchases Knudsen made leading up to, and even after, his decision to buy five Mega Millions Quick Picks. The premonition Knudsen had that he just might win a fortune began the day before the draw at a convenience store.

"I bought something and it was six dollars even. No change. And then later on that morning, I bought something somewhere else and it was nine dollars even. Five different places that day I didn't pay any change. The totals were all even amounts," Knudsen explained, still in disbelief. "I'm a numbers freak and that all means something in my head. So I said, 'I gotta stop somewhere and buy a (lottery) ticket.' So on my way home, I bought the Quick Picks for $10."

Get this: Knudsen recalls the very next morning (the day of the draw), "I bought something else and it came out to even money again! It was kind of weird. But I'd already gotten my (Mega Millions) ticket, so I wasn't really thinking about (the weird string of payment occurrences) anymore."

That evening, he met his family at a time share in Indio. This is where things get a little spooky. And if you get chills, you won't be alone. "I went with my wife down to the cantina to buy some things for the room." You guessed it:

It was like $24 EVEN!!" Knudsen recalled, his voice nearly shouting with excitement. Every single thing that Knudsen had purchased over a 48-hour period totaled even dollars – absolutely no change involved! "I was like man this is it. The seventh time that I bought something in two days in two different cities and counties! The clerk at the cantina said I should buy a lottery ticket and I said, "I already did!"

But the icing on the cake came late Friday evening (Aug 22). Knudsen, who had no idea his winning Mega Millions numbers had already been drawn, met his children at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. "Everywhere I played I won! I played on seven different machines (ironically lucky seven – the same number of even-money purchases he had made!) and I won on every single one of them. I said I'm getting out of here!"

The next morning Knudsen got a call from his sister informing him that someone from Calimesa had won the $180 million jackpot. "She said did you happen to buy one? I said, 'I did!' When she said it was the Calimesa 7 Eleven, I looked up the numbers and said, 'Oh my God.' I looked at the numbers three different times and I just about fainted! My family and I were yelling and hugging. We drove home. It took 45 minutes but it felt like an entire day – felt like we were driving in the river!"

The very first line of Knudsen's five Quick Picks matched the winning numbers 5-31-34-41-74 and Mega Number 3. The 7-Eleven where he ended up buying his lucky ticket (301 County Line Road in Calimesa) is a winner too. The owners receive a $900,000 retailer bonus just for selling the ticket!

Not surprisingly, after 35 years in the roofing business, Knudsen is calling it quits. Before he claimed his winning ticket yesterday, Knudsen said he decided to go on a previously-planned Alaskan fishing trip adventure with some co-worker friends, including his boss. That's when he broke the news. "It was bittersweet. When you like your job, I'd been working there since I was 19," his voice trailing off.

Knudsen has decided to take the cash option lump sum amount of $107 million (even!) before federal taxes. The long time Riverside County resident says he will be helping his church with some things, including a new roof. "And then enjoy life, help my (five) kids and (three) grandkids.

"A friend of mine told me he heard the odds of winning (the Mega Millions jackpot) are the same as you being eaten by a shark and lightning hitting you at the same time – and probably some other things as well! I just had a feeling. I only play when I feel lucky. And I felt lucky." Knudsen has enough money now to tell merchants, "Keep the change!" no matter how the total works out in the future.
Pittsburgh Man Claims $86.7 Million Mega Millions Jackpot
Carl Szott, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, today claimed an $86.7 million Mega Millions jackpot from the May 20, 2014, drawing.

It is the first jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket sold by the Pennsylvania Lottery and the fifth-largest prize awarded in the Lottery's history.

Lottery Executive Director Sil Lutkewitte today presented a ceremonial check for $86,755,350 to Mr. Szott, holder of the single jackpot-winning ticket from that drawing. Szott was accompanied by his wife and several family members.

The ticket correctly matched all five white balls, 10-40-63-64-69, plus the Megaball, 07, to win a prize of a $149 million annuity, or $86.7 million cash, less 25 percent federal withholding. This jackpot had started growing in early April and rolled 12 times.

"Winning the jackpot has been a surreal experience," Szott said. "We hope that very little in our lives will change; we are really excited to be able to spend more time with our children and grandchildren."

Szott noted that he waited 100 days to claim the prize in order to "make sure we were doing everything right."

Szott purchased the ticket at White Oak Gas & Grocery, 1100 Fawcett Ave., White Oak, Allegheny County. It was a Quick Pick ticket. The store, a Lottery retailer since April 2012, earns a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

This morning, Szott presented the Mega Millions ticket for validation at Lottery headquarters in Middletown, Dauphin County. Lottery officials confirmed it was the jackpot-winning ticket after examining the ticket and executing proprietary security measures.

"I'm very glad to introduce Carl Szott as the Pennsylvania Lottery's very first Mega Millions jackpot winner," said Lutkewitte. "This jackpot is also the fifth-largest prize in Pennsylvania Lottery history."
Port Huron Woman Wins $66 Million Mega Millions Jackpot from Michigan Lottery
Kelsey Zachow will never forget the heart-pounding adrenaline rush she felt when she learned she had won a $66 million Mega Millions jackpot.

"I started playing the Lottery because of the chance to win millions. I always dreamed about winning and what I would do with the money, and now that dream is a reality," Zachow said.

Ironically, Zachow, of Port Huron, won her jackpot last month on what many consider the unluckiest of days: Friday the 13th.

Zachow walked into Sonny's Mart, located at 12 Market Street in Mount Clemens, and bought five Mega Millions plays. Her fifth number, an easy pick, matched the Mega Millions numbers drawn that evening 07-38-46-49-56 and the Gold Mega Ball: 01 to win the $66 million jackpot from the Michigan Lottery.

Zachow elected to receive her jackpot as a one-time lump sum cash payment of nearly $38 million, and will take home nearly $27 million after taxes.

The 24-year-old Zachow didn't know she was the big jackpot winner until 10 days after the drawing. She had accumulated several tickets in her purse and visited a Lottery retailer to scan them and see what she had won.

"When the clerk at the store told me I had a big winner I was positive that he was mistaken," said Zachow. "There was a long line in the store behind me, so I decided to leave and looked the numbers up on MichiganLottery.com when I got into my car. That's when I realized I had won the jackpot and could barely breathe."

After a tense drive home, Zachow ran into her house and screamed for her boyfriend.

"I was screaming 'I won! I won!' at the top of my lungs and he came running into the room," said Zachow. "I was yelling so much that he thought I had been in a car accident or hit someone on my way home. I told him I had a $66 million ticket in my hand and he didn't believe me. He finally looked at the ticket and couldn't believe his eyes."

After sharing the good news with a few close friends and family members, Zachow locked the ticket in a safe, then began to make plans. The next few weeks were busy for the new millionaire as she met with financial planners and a lawyer to get ready to collect her big prize.

With her winnings, she plans to purchase a new home, take a vacation to Europe, and help family members. She also is planning to establish college funds for several of her young family members.

After things begin to settle down for Zachow, she plans to focus on spending time with her family and building a financial foundation that will help her family into the future.

For now, she's going to take time to adjust to her new wealth. For example, Zachow has long dreamed of owning a Ford Mustang convertible, but is in no hurry to visit a dealership to make a purchase.

"I have always wanted an electric blue Ford Mustang, and one day I will get one, but helping my family live comfortably comes first for me," Zachow said.
Albuquerque Man Wins 15 Prizes in One Mega Millions Drawing
An Albuquerque man won 15 prizes totaling $60,000 in one Mega Millions drawing. Steven Traub claimed his prizes in person at New Mexico Lottery headquarters yesterday. "This has made my day," Traub said.

For the July 8 drawing, Traub purchased five plays on three tickets for a total of 15 plays.

On every play, Traub used the ages of his four youngest children and his wife (14, 19, 25, 27 and 49) as his white ball numbers. To complete the plays, Traub selected one from each of the game's 15 yellow Mega Balls.

The winning numbers on July 8 were 14, 25, 27, 48 and 49 and the yellow Mega Ball of 9. On 14 plays, Traub matched four white ball numbers to win 14 prizes of $500 each, totaling $7,000. On one play, he matched four white ball numbers and the yellow Mega Ball to win $5,000. Traub's winnings came to $12,000, but his good fortune didn't end there.

Traub added the game's Megaplier feature to each play. The $1-per play feature multiples non-jackpot prizes between two and five times, depending on the multiplier drawn. On July 8, the number 5 was drawn as the multiplier. Traub's winnings went from $12,000 to $60,000.

The winner discovered his good fortune Tuesday night when he checked his tickets for prizes.

"I sat in my car in disbelief," Traub said. He said he plans to use his prizes to pay bills and travel.

Traub bought his lucky ticket at Pump N Save located at 3600 Wyoming Blvd. NE in Albuquerque.
$30 Million Jackpot Winning Mega Millions Ticket Purchased in Los Angeles Claimed!
After only a week and a half of waiting Los Angeles' newest millionaire has finally come forward.

Leopoldo Choi verified his winning ticket draw at the California Lottery's Van Nuys district office today after he matched all six numbers in the Mega Millions April 4th drawing. Choi takes home a cool $30 million! While Choi has decided to remain low key on what he plans to do with his winnings, we can tell you that the winning ticket was a Quick Pick® and Choi has decided to take the cash option of $16.6 million.
Kentwood Woman Claims $1 Million Mega Millions Prize from Michigan Lottery
Walt Disney World and Miami better be ready, because Michigan's latest millionaire is headed to the Sunshine State for a visit.

Cynthia Posey, of Kentwood, claimed her Mega Millions prize of $1 Million at the Michigan Lottery's headquarters in Lansing. She matched the first five numbers with a ticket she bought at the Mother Hubbard Party Store in Kentwood.

Posey learned she won the big prize after checking her ticket with the Lottery's mobile app. She was shocked to see she had matched the five numbers and had to check her ticket a few times before calling a friend to share the good news.

With her winnings, the 61-year-old Posey plans to purchase a new home and car, plus take a trip to Walt Disney World and Miami, Florida, to spend time with her grandchildren.
Maryland Mega Millions Jackpot Winner Claims Prize
The second-largest Mega Millions jackpot prize in Maryland history was quietly claimed late last week.

The lucky Marylander bought one of the two winning tickets in the March 18 drawing for the $414 million Mega Millions jackpot. A Florida couple last week claimed the second ticket, which was sold in their state.

The jackpot gave the Maryland and Florida ticket holders, before taxes, $115.5 million each through the cash option selected by the winners. After taxes, the Maryland winner receives $76.4 million.

"You have to play to win," the lucky Marylander exclaimed, borrowing the slogan used by the Lottery several years ago. "You have to play your lucky numbers."

"We are pleased that Maryland, once again, was home to a Mega Millions jackpot winner," said Stephen Martino, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. "Everyone benefits when a winning jackpot ticket is sold in Maryland. This jackpot win gave the state of Maryland some welcome and unanticipated tax revenue."

That "unanticipated tax revenue" amounts to more than $10.1 million, thanks to the cash option.

Our winner's lucky ticket came from Lady's Liquors located at 6474 Crain Highway in La Plata. For selling the winning ticket, the retailer receives a $100,000 agent bonus.
The Florida Lottery announced today that the members of the Cobie and Seamus Trust Dated April 21, 2014, Raymond Moyer and Robyn Collier, both 35, of Merritt Island, claimed a $207 million MEGA MILLIONS® prize from the drawing held on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. The winners split the $414 million jackpot with one other winner in Maryland, who has not yet claimed his or her prize. The members of the trust chose to receive the winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment in the amount of $115,448,968.00.

"We joined MEGA MILLIONS to offer our players more winning moments – and that's what we have done," said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell. "Since joining less than a year ago, Florida players have won more than $149 million in MEGA MILLIONS prizes, while simultaneously generating more than $66 million for Florida's students and schools."

The winning Quick Pick ticket was purchased from Publix, located at 600 South Courtenay Parkway in Merritt Island. The retailer received a $100,000 bonus commission for selling the $207 million MEGA MILLIONS ticket."

"We didn't know we had won until the next morning when the numbers were on the news," said Collier. I paused the TV and ran to get the ticket to double check the numbers and when I realized they all matched I jumped off the couch in excitement and told Raymond we had won."

"I didn't believe her until I saw the store where we purchased the ticket on the news," Moyer said. "It was definitely a shock, but it is an incredible blessing that will allow us to do many things we would not have had the opportunity to do before." The winners say they plan on investing, traveling and going to as many Notre Dame football games as they can.
Michigan Lottery Player from Westland wins $1 Million
The Mega Millions April fool's Day drawing was no joke for Michigan Lottery player, Jennifer Krauss, who won $1 Million.

Krauss, of Westland, bought her winning ticket from Take-A-Break Cafe Hamlin and returned to check her numbers earlier today. Afer finding out that she had matched the first five numbers in the Mega Millions game, she could barely contain her excitement.

"I was so nervous, I kept the ticket in my purse," said Krauss. "Then I kept my purse with me all day."

Krauss and her husband plan to use their new found fortune to pay off debt, help their children with student loans, and to donate to charities.

"Maybe we'll redo the kitchen if there's enough left over," Krauss said.
Vietnam Veteran from Charlotte lands $1 million 'Mega' prize
Matthew White, Jr. of Charlotte enjoys his routines. He likes to try his luck matching numbers playing jackpot games, and then checks for the winning numbers in the newspaper on his morning break.

For White, the morning after Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing was anything but routine. He was comparing his numbers when a coworker noticed they matched all five white balls in the drawing.

"Congratulations, you're a millionaire!" the coworker said.

Right away, White called his wife, Maggie, to share the good news. The Whites did not waste any time coming to lottery headquarters in Raleigh to collect the prize money.

"This is a blessing," he said. "I never had any idea this would happen to us."

White purchased the lucky ticket at the Fuel Mart on West Boulevard in Charlotte. He is the 20th North Carolina Mega Millions player to win at least $1 million since the game came here in 2010.

Originally from Kingstree, S.C., White served as a soldier in Vietnam and retired from the Navy. Living in Charlotte, he has worked as a supervisor and a technician for an electrical company that services industrial autotransformers.

The couple said the after-tax winnings of $692,000 will allow them to pay off all their bills, go on more fishing trips, and take a trip to San Diego.

Before winning the lottery, Matthew had already planned to call it a career in December, while Maggie still intends to continue working as a certified nursing assistant.

"When we do retire, we can live more comfortably," he added.
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