April 23, 2019 / 7:49 PM / a month ago

'I screamed': Winner of third-largest U.S. lottery jackpot steps forward

(Reuters) - The winner of the third-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history revealed himself on Tuesday as a 24-year-old man from Wisconsin, telling reporters he did not get around to checking the numbers till a day after the draw last month.

Manuel Franco, who lives in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis, said at a news conference organized by lottery officials that he spent $10 on five tickets at a gas station the day before the March 28 draw for the $768 million Powerball jackpot.

“I was going insane pretty much,” he said, recalling checking the numbers the day after the drawer. “I screamed for about five or ten minutes.”

Rather than take the full jackpot in annual annuities over 29 years, he has decided to take a lump cash sum of about $477 million before taxes.

Franco said he went to work for one day after realizing he had won but said he was unable to concentrate and has not returned since. He did not say where had worked.

“I’m not sure what the next chapter is for my life,” he said.

Powerball lottery tickets are sold in 44 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

States receive a percentage of lottery ticket sales and use the money to support public schools or to meet other needs.

The largest jackpot in U.S. history was nearly $1.6 billion dollars, which was shared between winners in California, Florida and Tennessee in 2016.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Alistair Bell

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