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Winner of $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot in South Carolina finally comes forward

CJ Patel, owner of the KC Mart in Simpsonville, says the record-breaking Mega Millions prize isn’t the first big winning lottery ticket he’s sold. The Greenville News

More than four months after making his or her fateful lottery ticket purchase, the winner of the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot has stepped forward — but will remain anonymous, the South Carolina Education Lottery Commission announced.

The winner of the largest jackpot in U.S. history has opted for up-front cash — a one-time payment of $877,784,124, the commission announced shortly before 5 p.m. Monday.

According to a statement from the commission, the winner confided in how unlikely the win was — that he (or she) had let a fellow customer buy a Quick Pick Mega Millions lottery ticket ahead of him (or her) in line the day he made his own lottery ticket purchase at the KC Mart in Simpsonville.

“We are delighted that the winner is a South Carolinian and has come forward to claim this remarkable prize,” said Hogan Brown, the lottery commission’s executive director. “We respect the winner’s decision to remain anonymous, and we will honor the winner’s wishes.”

The store in Simpsonville that sold the winning lottery ticket boasts signs in its window. (Photo: Donna Isbell Walker)

KC Mart in Simpsonville will receive $50,000 for selling the claimed winning ticket.

“It’s a lucky store for me and them too,” owner CJ Patel said. “(I tell them) to keep buying the tickets. Keep trying.”

Business at the store has also picked up since word of the winning ticket got out.

“It’s increased, definitely,” KC Mart employee Himanshi Patel said as she rang up customers purchasing their own lottery tickets Monday night.

The state of South Carolina, meanwhile, will collect $61 million in income taxes from the winner, according to the commission.

The winner has hired attorney Jason Kurland of Rivkin Radler of New York, who will provide legal representation while also acting as the winner’s spokesman, according to the commission.

Kurland has represented multiple large lottery winners, according to his firm’s website, including the Putnam Avenue Family Trust, winner of a $254.2 million Connecticut Powerball lottery; the Rainbow Sherbert Trust, winner of a $336.4 million Rhode Island Powerball jackpot; and The Ning Trust, winner of a $121.6 million Powerball jackpot in Delaware two years ago.

Kurland could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

The South Carolina Education Lottery Commission announced that the winner of the $1.5 billion Jackpot will remain anonymous.