Calif., N.J. , Powerball Winners Are Still No-Shows
As officials in New Jersey await the winner of Saturday’s $429.6 million Powerball game, a California Lottery representative said he’s losing hope that his state’s ticket-holder for a world-record January jackpot will ever come forward.
Winners in Florida and Tennessee took just days to claim their shares of the $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot drawn Jan. 13. But there’s been no sign of the third and final winner, who bought a ticket in Southern California.
In California, top winners get up to a year to contact lottery officials before the money automatically goes to schools.
California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said it’s not uncommon for a jackpot winner to hold off for a few weeks to come forward — to allow time to hire lawyers, financial advisers, and, in at least one case, a publicist. But it would take “an extreme amount of patience” to wait four months before claiming that much money, he said Monday.
“I don’t know about you, but if I had a $520 million ticket in my back pocket, I probably wouldn’t be sitting on it,” said Traverso, adding that he’s concerned the person who bought the ticket doesn’t know it’s a winner.
The Lottery’s publicity push seeking the ticket-holder ended after a few weeks, Traverso said.
Meanwhile, New Jersey lottery officials are also waiting for Powerball winners there to come forward. Carole Hedinger, the New Jersey Lottery’s executive director, said the ticket was bought last Tuesday from a 7-Eleven in a residential neighborhood in Trenton, away from the highways that bring thousands of state office workers into the region each day.
“Most of our customers are regulars, people who live nearby,” said store owner Andrea Shinn, who received a $30,000 bonus for selling the ticket. “I don’t want to speculate on who may have the ticket, but everyone is excited for the winner, excited that we’re the store that sold the winning ticket. It’s great for the Trenton community to have something positive going on.”
The purchaser bought two $2 tickets, one each for drawings held last Wednesday and Saturday, and spent an extra $1 on each ticket to get the “Power Play” option that multiplies the winnings. Lottery officials say the purchaser chose the lump sum option over an annuity, making the ticket worth $284 million.