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2nd Mega Millions winner comes forward, forgot he bought a ticket

One of the two winners of the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot finally came forward in Northern California.
January 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
One of the two winners of the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot finally came forward in Northern California.

Steve Tran claimed his $324 million lottery prize Thursday afternoon at the California Lottery's Sacramento office, according to a statement by Lotto officials released on Friday.

Tran bought his winning ticket in San Jose while visiting the town's large Vietnamese community with his family. On the Saturday before the Dec. 17 drawing, Tran stopped by Jennifer's Gift shop and bought five Quick Pick tickets.

Tran said it took so long for him to claim the prize because the winning ticket was sitting in a pile of other lottery tickets he had purchased in various towns while making his rounds as a delivery driver.

After coming home from a holiday vacation with his family, Tran said something just clicked.

"I woke up in the middle of the night. I remembered, I think I went to San Jose," he said in a statement.

Tran said he realized he won the jackpot at around 3 a.m. Monday. He told his wife and some other family members before calling his boss and leaving a message that went something like this: "I'm really sorry boss. I hit the jackpot. I don't think I'm going to come in today, tomorrow or ever."

He said he is planning another vacation - one that just might span a couple months.

Tran is splitting the jackpot with one other winner - Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Ga. She came forward to claim her prize Dec. 18. Lottery officials in Georgia say Curry chose to collect a lump sum of about $120 million after taxes.

If Tran decides to take the cash option, the lump sum will be $173.8 million before taxes. The federal tax rate is 25 percent. Tran, who is from California, does not have to pay state tax on the prize.

The California ticket was sold by store owner Thuy Nguyen of Jennifer's Gift Shop in San Jose. He will get $1 million, officials said.

The jackpot was the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. It started its ascent Oct. 4. Lotto officials say 22 draws came and went without winners. Some $336 million in tickets were sold for the Dec. 17 drawing.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot was set in March 2012 at $656 million and was split by three winning tickets in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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