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Retired Dallas, Ga. resident claims $7.5M Mega Millions prize
Christina Ford of Dallas, Ga. came forward today as the winner of Georgia's unclaimed $7,500,000 Mega Millions prize. She was one of two winners to split a $15 million jackpot July 22.

Winning numbers for the July 22 Mega Millions drawing were: 8-24-25-26-30, and the Mega Ball was 7.

Ford played using the Quik Pik option and was in disbelief when she saw the winning numbers drawn on television.

"I thought it was a dream," she said. "I kept saying, 'Yeah, right. This can't be true.'"

After three months of planning, the lucky winner decided to come forward.

Ford, 64, claimed her prize at Georgia Lottery headquarters Tuesday. She intends to use her winnings to vacation and share with her family.

Kroger #0634, 8876 Dallas Acworth Highway, Dallas, sold the winning ticket. The second ticket that shared the $15 million jackpot prize was purchased in Virginia.
Little River Couple are South Carolina's Newest Millionaires
A Little River couple cashed in a $4 million winning ticket yesterday, making them South Carolina's second largest Mega Millions prize winners.

Stephen Jones Jr. says fate played a role in the family's multi-million dollar win.

He says he went to buy a Mega Millions ticket for the previous day's drawing but was too late, sales were suspended. Undeterred, he went back the next day to the Circle K #2720461 on Hwy. 17 in Little River and spent $2 on what turned out to be a winning ticket in Friday night's drawing.

Before going to bed Friday, he checked his ticket. Then he had his wife check the ticket.

The first five numbers matched. Had the Megaball number "11" matched, a $111 million jackpot would have been theirs, but the couple is pleased with their consolation prize.

Because Jones spent the extra $1 for the Megaplier, his would be $1 million prize was quadrupled to $4 million with the selection of a "4" multiplier. Jones says he quickly did the math and knew he was a millionaire.

"We didn't sleep after that," he said.
Jones told lottery officials he kept his composure over the weekend, waiting to turn over his winning ticket. But on the drive down to Columbia from Little River, he says he started to sense the magnitude of the moment.

"We have wanted to start our own business for a while," he said standing with his wife after presenting the winning ticket. "Now we can."
Barre Man Cashes $5 Million Mega Millions Ticket
It's amazing what a difference an extra dollar can make especially when playing the Lottery. Reg Abare decided to add the Megaplier for an extra buck when he bought his regular Mega Millions ticket on August 16. That Megaplier option turned a $1 million second prize into $5 million.

Abare is retired after 45 years as Engineering Director for the City of Barre. He is a Barre local and has been playing the Lottery for the past 10 years. Normally, he purchases three tickets twice a week from Brookside Country Store for the next draw game and selects the multiplier option.

"I purchase the same three tickets each week as part of my routine. I like to go into the store to pick up a few items and get "the usual" for my lottery purchase." said Abare. "I have been a regular at that store for years and plan to keep buying my lottery tickets there."

"The actual moment when I was checking my numbers against the results I felt kind of numb, and had a bit of doubt. Could this be right? I had to ask a family member to look at it, and then go to the store to check it again. Then I felt really glad that I spent the extra dollar on the multiplier." Once he confirmed his lucky win, he made sure to take a selfie with the cashier.

Jeff Cavender, speaking for the Vermont Lottery, noted that though Vermont has never had a jackpot winner in Mega Millions, "this is the largest Mega Millions prize ever won in the state of Vermont. The extra dollar spent for the Megaplier gained Mr. Abare an extra $4 million. It's great for our players and agents."

“As for plans for my winnings," Abare said, "I'm handy around the house and usually have many projects going on. I will also be looking at some investments. This will certainly help!"
Niles Man Wins $1 Million Mega Millions Prize
A simple mistake turned out to be very lucky for a Niles man who won a $1 million Mega Millions prize from the Michigan Lottery.

Richard Hopper Sr., 69, matched the five white balls drawn in Friday's drawing to win the $1 million prize. He bought his winning ticket at the Sunrise Sunset Party Store, located at 1009 Huntly Road in Niles.

"When I stopped to buy my Mega Millions ticket, the clerk said he had accidentally printed an easy pick for another player who didn't want the ticket, and asked if I wanted to buy it or if I wanted another ticket," said Hopper. "I decided to buy the ticket that had already been printed off and boy, am I glad I did."

When Hopper checked his ticket Saturday morning, he thought he'd won $100,000.

"When I was looking at the winning numbers, I remember thinking 'boy, those look familiar,'" said Hopper. "At first I thought I had won $100,000 and I was pleasantly surprised when I learned I had really won $1 million."

"Sitting on $1 million all weekend was nerve wracking. It was definitely the longest weekend I've ever had."

Hopper visited Lottery headquarters in Lansing on Wednesday to claim his prize. With his winnings, he plans to pay off bills and save the remainder for a rainy day.
Dexter Man Wins $1 Million Mega Millions Prize
A Dexter man didn't know whether to laugh or cry after winning $1 million playing Mega Million.

John Rehm, 76, matched the five white balls drawn in Tuesday's drawing to win a $1 million prize. He bought his winning ticket at the Grand Party Store, located at 5760 Whitmore Lake Road in Brighton.

"A friend told me that a $1 million winning ticket was sold at the Grand Party Store so I went there to check my ticket," said Rehm. "When I had the clerk scan my ticket, she screamed: 'Oh my God! You’re the winner!'"

Rehm quickly tucked the winning ticket into his money clip and went home to tell his wife of 48 years, Tina, the good news. "When he walked in he looked terrible," said Tina. "I kept asking him what was going on, and he was kind of half laughing and half crying. He was acting so strange."

"The next thing I know, he blurted out: 'We won the Lottery!' I was stunned. I picked up to phone and called the Lottery just to see if he was right."

Once Lottery officials confirmed the news, the Rehms called their children.

"We could barely talk when we got on the phone with our kids," said Rehm. "It took a while to convince them we weren't playing a trick on them."

The Rehms visited Lottery headquarters Thursday to collect the $1 million prize. With their winnings, the couple plans to buy a boat and do some traveling with family.

"We've been very fortunate throughout our lives, and we're going to continue enjoying our life together," Rehm said.
Gary cashier wins $3 million in Mega Millions
2015 is ending on a high note for one Gary woman. LaTonya Barnes won $3 million in the Dec. 22 Mega Millions drawing. Barnes purchased her winning ticket at Triple S Save, 7510 Broadway in Merrillville and claimed her winnings Dec. 28 at Hoosier Lottery headquarters in Indianapolis, IN.

The Lake County woman's ticket matched the first five numbers, but did not match the Mega Ball number, which typically carries a prize of $1 million. Because Barnes added the Megaplier for an extra dollar, she multiplied her winnings by three and walked away with $3 million before taxes.

Barnes said she plays the Lottery only "once in a blue moon" and described her win as "unbelievable."

As for her winnings, the lucky cashier says she plans to "share with family" and is looking forward to "no more money stress."
Topeka Resident Claims $1 Million Mega Millions Cash Prize
A Topeka, Kansas resident has claimed a "mega" cash prize in the December 18 Mega Millions drawing. The lucky winner, who wished to remain anonymous, matched the first five Mega Millions numbers but not the Megaball to win a $1 million cash prize!

"Saturday morning, I was out Christmas shopping and I happened to check my phone and saw I had five missed calls from my husband," said the winner. "I thought something must have happened to our grandson because he's been having health issues. When I called my husband back, he said he had checked our Mega Millions ticket and we had won $1 million. I couldn't believe it. I was completely shocked. What a great thing to happen right before Christmas."

The lucky winner, who always picks her own winning numbers, has been playing Mega Millions for several years and has won $5,000 a couple of times.

"My husband and I pick our own numbers," said the winner. "The numbers we pick don't have any significance. We don't use birthdays or anniversaries. We look to see what numbers haven't hit in a while and go from there."

Their strategy paid off in Friday night's drawing. The winning numbers they picked were 6-23-24-28-62 Megaball 14. The winning numbers in the December 18 drawing were 6-23-24-28-62 Megaball 7.

"Even though we were one number from winning the jackpot, we are beside ourselves about winning $1 million," the winner said. "We plan to pay off bills, buy a new Harley and a newer car and the rest we'll save for our retirement."

The winning ticket was purchased at Huntington Park Amoco, located at 3120 Gage Blvd. in Topeka. For selling the $1 million cash prize, the store is eligible for a $1,000 selling bonus.
Howell Man Wins $1 Million Mega Millions Prize from Michigan Lottery
A Howell man is ready to help his family after winning $1 million playing the Michigan Lottery's Mega Millions game.

Lawrence Kopczyk, 70, won $1 million by matching the five white balls drawn in the Dec. 8 Mega Millions drawing: 07-17-37-49-73. He bought his winning ticket at the VG's gas station, located at 2392 West Grand River Avenue in Howell.

"My grandson helped me pick my numbers and when he heard that someone had bought a winning ticket at the VG's we went to, he told me he was sure I was the winner," said Kopczyk. "Even after he told me that, I waited a day to check my ticket".

"I sat down and checked the numbers one-by-one. Once I circled the fifth number, I yelled: 'I finally did it!'"

Kopczyk visited Lottery headquarters with his wife and two of his three children on Monday to claim his prize.

In addition to a $1 million winner, Kopczyk's ticket also included a $1 winner for matching the Mega Ball - 15 - drawn on Dec. 8.

"Winning $1 million is incredible," said Kopczyk. "If that '15' had been a couple of lines lower, it would have taken a team of morticians to get the smile off of my face."

If Kopczyk had matched the five white balls and Mega Ball on the same line, he would have won the $57 million Mega Millions jackpot.

With his winnings, the retired Kopczyk plans to pay off his home and bills, supplement his retirement income, travel, and help his family.

"I've played the Lottery for 30 years, and one of the reasons I've always played was to help my family out. Finally being able to do that means everything to me," Kopczyk said.
Detroit Man Wins $1 Million Mega Millions Prize from Michigan Lottery
A Detroit man promised his wife "the best Christmas of her life," but didn't tell her it's because he won $1 million playing the Michigan Lottery's Mega Millions game.

Michael Williams, 60, won $1 million after matching the five white balls drawn in Friday night's Mega Millions drawing: 14-20-43-54-69. He bought his winning ticket at the L&F Mini Mart, located at 9801 Linwood Street in Detroit.

"A co-worker told me that the L&F market had sold a big winner for Friday's Mega Millions drawing and I immediately went home to check my ticket," said Williams. "When I saw I had matched five numbers I screamed 'Oh my God!'"

Williams kept the news about his big win quiet, wanting to surprise his wife with the check he got on Monday.

"I dropped little hints all weekend, but I don't think she suspects that I won $1 million," said Williams. "I am going to buy her a house for Christmas."

After buying a new home, Williams plans to save the rest of his prize for retirement.

"I've been playing the Lottery for a long, long time and to finally win is just incredible," Williams said.
Kearney Lottery Group Claims $1 Million Mega Millions Prize
A group of seven coworkers has won $1 million playing Mega Millions from the Nebraska Lottery.

For the past four years, lottery players at Baldwin Filters in Kearney have pooled their money to buy Nebraska Lottery Mega Millions tickets. In the November 24 drawing, they purchased a quick pick ticket at Thirsty's, 3004 West Highway 30 in Kearney. One play on the five-play ticket matched all five of the winning white ball numbers (02, 19, 30, 38, 70) for $1 million.

The members of the winning group are: Randall Faltys of Kearney; Bradley Schroeder of Miller; Todd Meier of Kearney; Zachery Harris of Kearney; Kenny Eckel of Gibbon; Boyd Vinzant of Minden; and William Dixon of Hildreth. Each will receive a $142,857 share of the prize.

All seven group members travelled to Nebraska Lottery headquarters on November 30. They indicated that they were "stunned" and "amazed" to learn they had won after checking the winning numbers with the Nebraska Lottery mobile app. When asked about their plans, members mentioned paying bills using their share of the winnings.
Kent County Man Wins $1 Million Mega Millions Prize
A lucky Kent County man is busy counting cash after winning $1 million playing the Michigan Lottery's Mega Millions game. Michael Hicks, of Comstock Park, won $1 million in Friday's Mega Millions drawing after matching the five white balls drawn: 05-11-31-50-67. Hicks bought his winning ticket at the D&W Quick Stop, located at 1810 Breton Road Southeast in Grand Rapids.

"I wasn't even going to buy a ticket for Friday's drawing,” said Hicks. "I had to make a quick stop for gas and that's when I bought the ticket."

The 34 year-old Hicks found out a couple of days later that his unplanned Lottery purchase turned out to be very lucky.

"I check my tickets every few days, and when I scanned my Mega Millions ticket the scanner said to see the clerk. I tried to scan it again and got the same message," said Hicks. "I gave the ticket to the clerk and they told me that I won more than $600 and I needed to go to the Lottery office.

"I went over to the Lottery’s Grand Rapids office and when they looked over the ticket they told me I'd won $1 million. I couldn't believe what they were saying. It just didn't seem real."

Hicks put his ticket in a safe until he came to Lottery headquarters in Lansing on Wednesday to collect his big prize. Hicks plans to set aside a portion of his winnings to pay for his son's college education. He also plans to pay off his bills and buy a new home.

"When I found out I won, it was like all of my stress immediately disappeared," Hicks said. “"Just a couple of weeks ago I was sitting at home wondering what I was going to do because times were getting really rough. Now I don't have to worry about that any more."
Noel Man Claims Missouri's First Mega Million Jackpot
A Noel man came forward Aug. 4 to claim Missouri's first Mega Millions jackpot. Raul Ahumada, 60, said he plays several Missouri Lottery games, including Mega Millions. When he checked his tickets on Aug. 3, he thought he had won $25,000. It wasn't until he took his ticket to the Lottery's Springfield office that he discovered he actually won $25 million.

Ahumada, who works at a chicken processing plant, said he and his wife, Rosa, plan to "try to find a nice mountain home and stay there." He also plans to go back to Mexico to visit his family and his mom's grave.

"It's been 15 years since he's been back to Mexico," his son, Raul Jr., explained.

He also may buy a "nice car" and possibly retire in the near future.

Ahumada purchased his winning ticket at Rio Alce convenience store, 441 N. Highway 59, in Noel. He let the computer select the number combination on his winning ticket for the July 31 drawing.
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