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California winner of half Mega Millions jackpot still unknown

California winner of half Mega Millions jackpot still unknown

WINNING TICKET: The holder of the second winning ticket in the $648 Mega Millions jackpot has not come forward yet. Photo: Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The owner of the second winning ticket in the Mega Millions lottery remained a mystery on Thursday, one day after a Georgia woman came forward to collect her share of the estimated total jackpot of $648 million.

California Lottery officials said that whoever bought the winning ticket at a gift shop in San Jose had so far not staked out a claim.

The jackpot was the second largest in U.S. lottery history, just short of the record U.S. jackpot of $656 million won in a March 2012 Mega Millions drawing. The winning numbers for Tuesday’s drawing were 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 and 7.

“It’s pretty common for people to take time to come forward,” California Lottery spokesman Greg Parashak said, adding often winners want to consult with financial advisers or an attorney first.

On Wednesday, 56-year-old Ira Curry of the Atlanta suburb of Stone Mountain came forward to claim her half of Tuesday’s Mega Millions jackpot.

Curry bought the ticket on Friday at an Atlanta newsstand, using a mix of family birthdays and the lucky number 7, and claimed her prize at the state’s lottery headquarters. She chose to receive a lump-sum cash payment of $173.8 million after taxes, lottery officials said.

She could have opted for a larger annuity sum that would have been paid out over 30 years.

The other winning ticket was sold at a retail location called Jennifer’s Gift Shop on Tully Road in San Jose, according to Alex Traverso, a California lottery official. The shop is owned by Thuy Nguyen, who, according to the San Jose Mercury News, took over the business four months ago.

Under California’s lottery rules, Nguyen will receive a $1 million cash bonus for selling a winning ticket. Georgia lottery retailers earn a flat 6 percent commission based on sales but receive no bonuses for winning tickets sold at their location.

Meanwhile, California lottery officials said that someone who purchased a ticket in the state’s separate SuperLotto Plus drawing had won $50 million by picking all six winning numbers. That winner, who bought his or her ticket at a market in Los Alamitos, California had also not yet come forward.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Gevirtz)

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