We may never learn who won the huge $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Some crazy lucky ticket holder is about to cash in on the biggest Mega Millions jackpot in history — $1.537 billion.
But anyone trying to take advantage of the winner — perhaps as a long-lost relative or a newfound friend — will be out of luck.
That’s because the fortuitous ticket was bought in South Carolina, where lottery winners can stay anonymous if they want to.
South Carolina is one of seven states that don’t require lottery winners to be publicly identified, CNN affiliate WIS reported.
In the past, images of gleaming lottery winners holding oversized checks served as great publicity for lotteries. Publicizing winners is also a way for lotteries to be transparent about their operations.
But with the rise of nefarious people trying to take advantage of winners, anonymity may be a much more appealing option.
In 2015, Craigory Burch Jr. won $400,000 in an Illinois lottery. Two months after posing with his check, he was killed by home-invasion robbers demanding his money.
In South Carolina, Mega Millions winners have 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim their prize.
While many states still require jackpot winners to claim their prizes publicly, the tide seems to be turning in favor of winners wanting to fly under the radar.
In March, a New Hampshire judge ruled that a $560 million Powerball jackpot winner can stay anonymous after she sued the state’s lottery.
While the winner never spoke out publicly, her attorney William Shaheen relayed her reaction for her.
“If I told you she was ecstatic, it would be an understatement,” he said.