Lewis Howard

May 17, 2013


Cumberland man with an itchy hand claims $99 million Mega Millions jackpot Retired HVAC technician wins fifth-largest prize in Virginia Lottery's 25 years

Lewis Howard was sitting at home watching TV when his right hand began itching. The Cumberland man remembered his mother telling him an itching hand meant money was coming. That's when he went out and bought $5 of Mega Millions tickets for the May 17 drawing.

One of those five tickets matched all six numbers to win the jackpot. He took it all in stride.

"I thought, 'Okay, so I have all six numbers,'" he later said. "I really wasn't that excited."

Mr. Howard's ticket was one of two nationwide to split the $198 million jackpot in the May 17 drawing. The other ticket was bought in New Jersey. The winning numbers were 11-15-35-43-49 and the Mega Ball number was 41. Mr. Howard selected his numbers at random.

He bought the winning ticket at Food Lion, 1592 South Main Street in Farmville. The store received a $50,000 bonus from the Lottery for selling the winning ticket.

On October 31, Mr. Howard received his check from Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto. He had a choice of taking the full jackpot in 30 annual payments or a one-time cash option of $73.3 million before taxes. He chose the cash option.

"I'm just an ordinary person," the retired HVAC technician said. "I'm still the same person."

Mr. Howard waited more than five months to claim his prize. Had he not claimed it, the ticket would have expired on November 13. Mr. Howard considers himself a thoughtful man and waited so he could make good decisions with his new-found winnings.

"We commend Mr. Howard for taking his time to assemble a team of financial and legal advisors," said Ms. Otto. "This is Virginia's seventh Mega Millions jackpot win, and the fifth-largest prize ever awarded by the Virginia Lottery."

Mr. Howard has two grown children and three grandchildren. A private man, he enjoys reading and cooking.

So what does the future hold for Mr. Howard? He said there's a good chance of a cruise on the horizon. One thing is certain though: He'll continue playing Mega Millions and other Virginia Lottery games. "It's my hobby," he said.