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Kan. Mega Millions winner stays anonymous

OTTAWA, Kan., April 7 (UPI) — The Kansas lottery winner sharing the record $656 million Mega Millions jackpot has chosen to remain anonymous, officials said.

Lottery officials say the winner claimed the estimated $218.6 million prize Friday and chose to take a post-tax payout of $110.5 million, The Wichita Eagle reported.

The winner purchased the ticket at a Casey’s General Store in Ottawa, a town with just over 6,000 residents 50 miles southwest of Kansas City, Kan.

The winner bought a single ticket and allowed a computer to generate the numbers.

Kansas law allows the lottery winner to remain anonymous, and lottery officials celebrated with horns, confetti, balloons, punch — and a cardboard cutout with a smiley-face in place of the actual winner.

“They obviously don’t need the publicity and they’re not used to the publicity,” said Dennis Wilson, the Kansas Lottery’s executive director. “They were still in awe they had won it. They’re like all of us. They think about the possibility of winning, but they never think that’s it’s going to happen to them.”

The Kansas winner had not checked the numbers until Monday, on the lottery’s Web site.

“They checked it over 10 times to make sure they were reading it right and still had a hard time believing it,” Wilson said.

The winner called the lottery office in Topeka Friday morning, then showed up there with a lawyer and two financial advisers. The money was to be transferred to the winner’s account electronically.

The other two jackpot-winning Mega Millions tickets were sold in Illinois and Maryland. The Illinois winner hasn’t come forward, and in Maryland, a Baltimore woman claimed to have a winning ticket but then said she couldn’t find it.

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