San Jose, CA — A delivery truck driver who didn’t realize that he had a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket for more than two weeks has finally come forward to claim half of a $648 million jackpot.
Steve Tran, a frequent lottery player who lives in Northern California, bought five Quick Pick Tickets at Jenny’s Gift Shop the Saturday before the December 17 drawing. He said he forgot about the ticket because it was on top of a drawer with others that he bought in various towns while making his rounds. It wasn’t until after he returned from a family vacation that he thought to check his tickets.
“I woke up in the middle of the night,” Tran told California Lottery officials. “I remembered, I think I went to San Jose.”
Tran said he realized he had won the jackpot around 3 am Monday. He told his wife and other family members that he won the prize before calling his boss and leaving a message that said, “I’m really sorry boss. I hit the jackpot. I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow or ever.”
Steve Tran said he is planning another vacation that may last a couple of months. If he chooses to take the cash option, the lump sum will be $173.8 million before taxes. The federal tax rate is 25 percent, and since Tran lives in California, he will not have to pay state tax on the prize. He has 60 days to select his payment option.
The other winner of the $648 jackpot — the second largest in US history — was Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Georgia. She claimed her prize on December 18 and chose to collect a lump sum of $120 million after taxes.
The largest Mega Millions jackpot was set in March 2012 at $656 million. The prize was split between three winners in Maryland, Illinois, and Kansas.