The wait was worth more than $500 million for the owners of a winning Powerball ticket purchased at a Southern California convenience store.
Marvin and Mae Acosta stepped forward Tuesday -- six months after the drawing -- to claim the $528 million prize, the largest in California Lottery history and part of a U.S. record jackpot that gripped the nation during a series of high-stakes drawings in January. Their ticket was one of three winners in the Jan. 13 drawing for the $1.6 billion jackpot, the largest in U.S. history.
The Acostas bought the ticket at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, where customers celebrated the historic win with store employees. The couple declined interview requests, but released a statement in which they called the prize a "rare gift."
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"We are thankful and blessed for the rare gift that has been placed in our care," the Acostas said in a statement. "We have engaged a team of advisors to educate and guide us through this process so that we can be good stewards of these new resources. While many decisions are still to be made, we have committed nearly all of this new resource to a Trust and to charities that are important to us. While we are very grateful for the wonderful wishes and encouragement we’ve received, it is not our intention to become public figures, and we ask for and appreciate privacy going forward. Thank you."
The record U.S. prize drawing in January sent hopefuls scrambling to lottery ticket retailers. In California, players purchased about $386 million worth of Powerball tickets during the historic run of drawings.
The Acostas matched all six winning numbers -- 4-8-19-27-34 and the Powerball number 10. They selected the cash option amount of $327.8 million before federal taxes.
California Lottery officials said the Acostas put together a team of legal and financial advisors during the past six months after reading the lottery's Winner's Handbook.
The 7-Eleven retailer received a bonus of $1 million for selling the winning ticket.
Hundreds of people crowded the store after learning about the winning ticket, cheering and chanting, "Chino Hills! Chino Hills!" in celebration of the city about 35 miles east of Los Angeles.
Two other winning tickets were sold in Florida and Tennessee.