April 13 (UPI) — The winner of last month’s $553 million Mega Millions jackpot stepped forward Friday to claim his prize in New Jersey.
Richard Wahl, 47, who recently moved from Michigan to Vernon, N.J., had the five winning numbers and the Mega Ball in the March 30 lottery on a ticket he purchased at a gas station.
The payout is the largest single lottery win claimed in the state and the fourth-largest payout in Mega Millions history.
At New Jersey Lottery headquarters Friday, Wahl was handed the traditional oversized check. He said he first misread his chosen numbers on the lottery ticket, and only realized he won after looking at the numbers a second time.
Wahl declined to discuss his family, citing security concerns, but said he told no one about the win until he met with financial advisers — even his mother.
“My mom called and said ‘I heard someone from New Jersey won the lottery, was it you?’” Wahl said, “and I said, ‘Absolutely not.”
Wahl will receive the cash option of about $317 million after taxes, and will remain as a production manager for AAK Food Service in Hillsborough, N.J., helping the company through a transition that took him to New Jersey last July.
He said he will share the jackpot with “family and friends who struggle every day,” and might indulge in his dream of restoring a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette.
Mega Millions is played in 44 states and Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.