After a mysterious winner of an insane $426 million Mega Millions jackpot prize stayed mum for months following the announcement that the ticket was sold in Woodland Hills, California, the winner has finally come forward Wednesday.
This is the biggest win in the state in 2022, the California Lottery said. Hers was the only ticket to hit all winning numbers throughout the nation.
Kristine Wellenstein is the lucky person who hit the $426 million Mega Millions jackpot. Even though her name is out there, she said she still wishes to remain a private person.
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"When I realized I’d won, I was overcome with so many emotions, but mostly gratitude,” Wellenstein told the California Lottery.
She bought the winning ticket at a Chevron gas station in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles.
California’s public schools will get an estimated $40 million from the pot.
Wellenstein opted to take a lump sum payment.
And as for the her plans with that big pile of cash?
"I want to give back and support local and global-based initiatives, and my team is in place to help achieve those objectives,” she said. “The real impact of my life’s work begins now."
The reason the jackpot was so great was because it rolled -- or didn't have a winner-- 27 times starting in October of 2021.
The gas station, located at 6061 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, also gets a cut: a maximum $1 million bonus for selling the winning ticket.
“We love having big jackpots and big wins in California,” Alva V. Johnson, Director of the California State Lottery, said in a news release. “Higher jackpots typically result in higher sales, of course, and that means more money for public education, which we are proud to support. The Lottery exists solely to benefit schools, so not only do we congratulate Ms. Wellenstein on this terrific win, but we also congratulate students from elementary on up through university, who greatly benefit as well.”