The Florida Powerball winners are finally revealed. A couple from Melbourne Beach, Florida, came forward on Wednesday to claim one-third of the January 13 Powerball jackpot, saying they managed to keep their win a secret for over a month.
Long-time Melbourne Beach residents, David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith, claimed their share of the record Powerball jackpot five weeks after the Wednesday night drawing in January. According to Smith, they knew they had a winning ticket but managed to keep quiet for weeks, saying they just acted normal around family and friends.
Powerball had the largest recorded jackpot in world Powerball history on January 13. The couple, who’s lived together in Melbourne Beach for the last 25 years, won a staggering one-third of the nearly $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot that was up for grabs last month. Kaltschmidt, 55, and Smith, 70, get to walk away with over $528 million before taxes.
Winners have the option of taking their money over 30 installments that gradually increase with time, but the most recently announced Florida Powerball winners chose to take their one lump sum of over $327 million as trustees of a Nickel 95 Trust. According to a press release published on the Florida Lottery website on Wednesday, the Trust chose to receive the winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment in the amount of $327,835,077.79.
Only a few family members knew that Kaltschmidt and Smith held one of three winning Powerball tickets before the couple went public with their announcement this week via a news conference in Tallahassee, Florida. The couple answered questions about their Powerball win at the Florida Lottery studio for just over 14 minutes.
People nationwide have been wondering for over a month who the Florida Powerball winner was. The couple, who’s not legally married but has lived together since 1980, wanted to make sure they really did win before coming forward publicly. They double-checked the numbers, sought legal counsel, and even established the Nickel 95 Trust before revealing their winning ticket.
— Janet Shamlian (@JanetShamlian) February 18, 2016
How did the Florida Powerball winners manage to keep their secret for so long? Smith said it was difficult but with the money came concerns, so they just kept quiet.
“We’re no longer in a quiet place, which I’m going to miss. I’m afraid it’s gonna make me less friendly,” said Smith.
“It’s scary and unknown. I mean, you always do think about what you’re gonna do, but when it happened, it’s like it all went out of my head.”
According to Kaltschmidt, he showed up late for work one day as a manufacturing engineer for Northrop Grumman, and his co-workers then suspected he might have won. Kaltschmidt has reportedly been designing airplanes as a loyal and dependable Grumman employee for the last 34 years, but said he’s probably going to retire now. Smith says she’s been randomly buying $3 Powerball tickets for the last 30 years, and although she doesn’t play often, she always plays the same numbers.
The Florida Powerball winners claim they are going to continue to live the same life basically, but want to use some of the money to help special people in their lives and buy a new vehicle. Smith, who’s a homemaker, says she wants a massage.
Kaltschmidt has gained millions but said he’s lost 10 pounds from pacing the floor since winning the Powerball jackpot.
“We were on the plane heading here, and it’s just really real. It’s just so overwhelming,” said Kaltschmidt. He went on to say that he knows very little will actually remain the same from this point on.
Florida Today reports that although the couple love their Melbourne Beach area home, they do admit that their future is still very unknown.
— People Magazine (@people) February 17, 2016
Neighbors of the Florida Powerball winners describe Kaltschmidt and Smith as wonderful, helpful, and kind. One neighbor, Bernard Buckingham, said he didn’t know the couple very well, but bought a Powerball ticket at the very same Publix grocery store where the winning ticket was sold.
Another winner of the Powerball jackpot, John and Lisa Robinson from Tennessee, came forward almost immediately. One winner’s identity from California remains a mystery. The Florida Powerball winners didn’t watch the January 13 drawing live, but realized they had won the following morning.
[Image via YouTube/ABC News]