Kansas winner of Mega Millions lottery comes forward

Fri Apr 6, 2012 6:24pm EDT

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(Reuters) - A Kansas winner of a share of the record U.S. $656 million Mega Millions lottery claimed the cash on Friday, nearly a week after becoming one of three winners of the historic jackpot, lottery officials said.

The winner asked to remain anonymous, and officials declined to detail the winner's gender, age, occupation or hometown. The ticket was purchased at a Casey's General Store on Main Street in Ottawa, Kansas. The store will get a $10,000 payment for selling the winning ticket.

The winner's legal share of the jackpot was $218.6 million before taxes. The winner chose the lesser cash option instead of the full amount in a 26-year payout system. After taxes and fees, the winner will claim $110.5 million.

Officials said the winner contacted the lottery on Friday morning and then came in with an attorney and financial advisers.

"I don't know when they bought the ticket, but they checked their ticket on Monday and realized that, 'Holy cow, we think we have the winning ticket,'" said Cara Sloan-Ramos, director of communications for the Kansas Lottery. "Then the winner checked it over and over and over, just to make sure, and then they contacted us today."

Lottery officials said a week ago that three winning tickets were purchased, one in Kansas, one in Illinois, and one in Maryland. Neither of the other winners have been confirmed.

The amount will be split evenly among the holders of the three tickets.

The winning numbers were 2-4-23-38-46, Mega Ball 23.

A worker at a McDonald's in Baltimore, Md., has told media that she bought the winning ticket, and that she's hidden it. Coworkers have alleged that Mirlande Wilson, a 37-year-old Haitian immigrant, purchased it as a syndicate with 14 other employees and is trying to keep the money all to herself.

Maryland lottery officials said Thursday that no one had presented a winning ticket to their offices.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Greg McCune and Cynthia Osterman)

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