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Powerball: Biggest jackpots in US history

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The latest Powerball jackpot is one for the record books and will be paying out the largest single jackpot ever in North America.

A winning ticket for Wednesday’s $758.7 million grand prize was sold at the Handy Variety convenience store in Chicopee, Massachusetts. (Lottery officials initially reported that the winning ticket was sold in Watertown, Massachusetts.)

The winning numbers were 6, 7, 16, 23, 26, and the Powerball was 4.

It wasn’t immediately clear who bought the lucky ticket, or if it was a group of people. Whoever it is won’t get their hands on the full jackpot — lottery winnings are taxed like income.

The IRS taxes the top income bracket 39.6%. And the government will withhold 25% of that before the money ever gets to the winner. The rest has to be paid at tax time.

The top prize of $758.7 million is available only if the winner chooses to take the loot in 30 annual payments. But nearly everyone chooses to take a lump sum payment which came to $480.5 million.

It’s not just the holder of the single winning ticket who will cash in. There likely are numerous people who won $1 million or more for having the five numbers other than the Powerball. Secondary prizes go all the way down to $4 for those who had only the Powerball number correct. A total of $135 million in prize money is due to 9.4 million other ticket buyers who didn’t win the jackpot. But history suggests many of those buyers likely do not realize they won the smaller prizes and will never claim their winnings.

Here’s where the list of the largest U.S. lottery prizes stands now.

1. $1.6 billion Powerball

January 13, 2016: The record-shattering jackpot was split three ways by Mae and Marvin Acosta from Chino Hills, CaliforniaJohn and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee; and Maureen Smith, a 70-year-old from Melbourne Beach, Florida.

The Robinsons appeared on NBC’s “Today” show before cashing their ticket in. They opted to take their $528.8 million share of the prize in one lump-sum payment of $327.8 million. (Jackpot prize amounts are the annuity jackpots paid out over 30 payments, even though almost all winners chose to take a lesser lump sum of cash).

Smith told the Florida Lottery that she had played the lottery — and bought tickets with the same six numbers — for years before winning the jackpot.

The Acostas refused to speak to the media. They assembled a team of advisers and waited six months before claiming the prize.

2. $758.7 million Powerball

August 23, 2017: The winning ticket was sold in Watertown, Massachusetts. It was the largest jackpot with a single winner in American history, according to the Massachusetts Lottery.

It’s still unknown who bought the lucky ticket.

3. $656 million Mega Millions

March 30, 2012: This jackpot had three winners.

A retired couple from Illinois, Merle and Patricia Butler, received one of the slices of the top prize. “We are just everyday people who have worked hard all our life…We just happened to hit it big,” Merle said. Patricia added that they planned to use “part of the winnings to do some real good.”

Another winning ticket was divided among a group of friends in Maryland who dubbed themselves the “Three Amigos.”

The third winner is still unknown. That ticket was purchased in Kansas, which is one of the states that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous.

4. $648 million Mega Millions

December 17, 2013: Two winners split this jackpot, including Ira Curry, a Georgia woman, who said she bet on a combination of family birthdays.

The other winner, Steve Tran, was working as a delivery driver when he bought a Mega Millions ticket in San Jose, California. Tran said he called his boss after he won to say, “I hit the jackpot. I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow, or ever.”

5. $590.5 million Powerball

May 18, 2013: 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie of Florida had the one-and-only winning ticket, but it could’ve easily gone to someone else. “While in line at Publix, another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning quick-pick ticket,” Mackenzie said.

6. $587.5 million Powerball

November 28, 2012: Two winning tickets — Matthew Good of Arizona and Cindy and Mark Hill of Missouri.

7. $564 million Powerball

February 11, 2015: Three winners — Marie Holmes of North Carolina; Andrew Weber, who claimed it on behalf of a trust in Texas; and an anonymous player in Puerto Rico.

8. $536 million Mega Millions

July 8, 2016: A single winning ticket was sold in Indiana.

9. $487 million Powerball

July 30, 2016: The lone winning ticket was sold in New Hampshire.

10. $448.4 million Powerball

August 7, 2013: Three winning tickets — a project engineer in Minnesota, a 70-year-old man in New Jersey, and a group of 16 victims of Superstorm Sandy.

11. $447.8 million Powerball

June 10, 2017: One winner — Jeff Lindsay of California, who bought his Powerball ticket with the funds from a winning scratch ticket.

12. $435 million Powerball

February 22, 2017: An anonymous ticket holder in Indiana was the sole winner of this massive jackpot.

13. $429.6 million Powerball

May 7, 2016: The one jackpot winner was drawn in New Jersey.

14. $425.3 million Powerball

February 19, 2014: B. Raymond Buxton of California was the drawing’s sole winner.

15. $420.9 million Powerball

November 26, 2016: A group of 20 longtime co-workers in Tennessee bougt the winning ticket in Lafayette, Tennessee.

16. $414 million Mega Millions

March 18, 2014: Two winning tickets — an anonymous player in Maryland and Floridians Raymond Moyer and Robyn Collier.

17. $399.4 million Powerball

September 18, 2013: An anonymous winner in Lexington, South Carolina.

18. $393 million Mega Millions

August 11, 2017: single winning ticket was sold in Palos Heights, Illinois. The winner still hadn’t been publicly identified.

19. $390 million Mega Millions

March 6, 2007: Two winning tickets — Elaine and Harold Messner of New Jersey and Eddie Nabors of Georgia.

20. $380 million Mega Millions

January 4, 2011: Jim and Carolyn McCullar of Ephrata, Washington, had one of two winning tickets. Holly Lahti of Rathdrum, Idaho, had the other.

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