The Powerball jackpot has risen to $334 million, making it the 12th largest jackpot in Powerball history after a Wednesday December 30 drawing failed to produce a winner. The next drawing is set for Sunday, and if there is a winner, the lump sum payout would be $205 million. The largest jackpot in Powerball history was for $590 million in 2013.
According to ABC 7, Iowa Lottery spokesman Kevin Kirkpatrick said the last time a Powerball jackpot was this high was in March 2013, when a man in New Jersey won $338 million. The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million.
In September 2015, a Powerball jackpot of $310.5 million was won by a Michigan woman who initially failed to come forward. The $310.5 million-winning Powerball ticket was sold at a Shell station in Three Rivers, Michigan. A 50-year old factory worker named Julie Leach was the big winner.
Powerball jackpot is $334M, 12th-highest in history https://t.co/0fjUt9PXxy
— michael lindsay (@birdman_68) January 1, 2016
At the time, Leach said that she was having a “bad night” at her job at the factory, and took a lunch break. At a McDonald’s drive through, Julie checked her Powerball numbers, and realized she had the winning Powerball ticket. Trying to focus her eyes to believe her good luck, Julie told ABC News 7 that she realized “I got three numbers, cool,” and kept “trying to focus my eyes.”
Not believing she actually won the Powerball, Leach returned to work to have her coworkers verify her winnings. According to Leach, she “couldn’t believe” she won the $310.5 million Powerball jackpot, and needed her coworkers to confirm it.
To celebrate, Julie “quit [her job] automatically,” telling the news station that her factory job was “nasty, dirty.” Although her partner of 36 years wanted to continue to work, the Powerball winner said he was “crazy” since “we don’t have to work anymore.” Leach chose the lump sum payout of $197.4 million, which rounded out to $140 million after taxes.
The Powerball winner still lives in Michigan and plans to use the money to build houses for herself and her partner, as well as their three children and 11 grandchildren.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) December 31, 2015
Although she eventually came forward, she did not immediately claim her winnings. According to a Michigan Lottery spokesman, this is not unusual, as many winners want to consult an attorney and financial planner before receiving their winnings. The “last big winner we had didn’t contact us for a month so she could line up a financial planner [and] lawyer.”
In an email sent to ABC News 7 at the time, the Michigan Lottery spokesman explained that the winner of the $310.5 million Powerball, and any Powerball winner, should “contact us during business hours, which are 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.”
Although Julie had plans to use her Powerball winnings to benefit her family, not every winner has been so lucky. Powerball winner Marie Holmes, who won a $188 million jackpot, recently used $12 million to post a bond for her boyfriend, 31-year-old Lamarr McDow, who was arrested for allegedly helping to set up illegal street racing, reported news channel WECT 6.
McDow was also arrested twice in 2014 after local authorities confiscated almost 2,500 bags of heroin during two separate raids. In July 2015, the Powerball winner herself faced drug charges after police arrived at her home to arrest McDow after he missed curfew, which violated his pretrial release agreement. During the incident, police smelled the strong odor of marijuana.
Authorities returned to the home around 10 p.m. with a search warrant, and found that Holmes allegedly had less than a half ounce of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. According to WECT 6, Holmes has a long history of bailing out her boyfriend for various criminal charges. Holmes was one of three winners of the $188 million Powerball jackpot, and chose a lump sum payout of $127 million, which came out to nearly $88 million after taxes.
What do you think? Will you try to win the 12th largest Powerball jackpot in history? Leave a comment below.
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