By Aileen Wingblad
LAPEER, Mich., Aug 16 (Reuters) - Sam Odish co-owns the Sunoco gas station and convenience store where the single winning ticket in the $337 million Powerball lottery was sold.
He had no idea until reporters and TV satellite trucks descended en masse on his store on the main street of this small Michigan town and informed him of Wednesday's lottery draw.
By afternoon, his mobile phone was dead from fielding all the calls he was getting.
The winner had not come forward by Thursday evening to claim the third-largest winner's share ever for a U.S. lottery, which will be $337 million, paid over the next 29 years, or a one-time cash award of $224.66 million, before taxes. A Powerball official said most people take the one-time payout.
"Absolutely everyone is talking about it," said Lapeer resident Ron Trandell, one of the customers at the suddenly busy gas station.
He said people all over Lapeer were getting phone calls from relatives and friends who had heard that the winning ticket was sold in the town of 8,841 people 60 miles north of Detroit.
"I've had nothing but phone calls this morning from people making sure it wasn't me," said Trandell. "I told my wife we probably should stop answering the phone for a few days, just to make them wonder."
Jason Rutter, a U.S. postal worker in Lapeer, said the town was buzzing with talk of the mystery lottery winner. Anyone who didn't show up as usual at work was suspected of being the winner, he said.
There were 172,237,868 Powerball tickets sold for Wednesday night's drawing in 42 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, said a spokesman for the Multi-State Lottery Association in Iowa.
This week's winner will have to pay 25 percent federal taxes, or about $56.2 million for the one-time payout, and 4.35 percent Michigan taxes, or about $9.8 million. That would net winnings of about $159 million.
The Sunoco gas station where the winning ticket was sold will get $50,000.
This week's jackpot was the seventh-largest for a U.S. lottery. Four of the six larger jackpots were split, so this week's winner will get the third-largest winning share ever.
A Powerball ticket costs $2.
Friday is the start of "Lapeer Days," a three-day annual festival and carnival that began in 1902 that includes live bands, a parade, Wowie the Clown and, perhaps, a lottery winner walking its grounds in downtown Lapeer. (Editing by Anthony Boadle)
Woman's Friend Steals Winning Scratch-Off
A South Carolina woman's luck stopped short after she told a few friends about her winning $500 ticket. Willie Jones, a friend of the winner, was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/19/south-carolina-stolen-lottery-ticket_n_1686630.html" target="_hplink">charged with stealing her ticket</a>.
Man Wins Lotto, Bails Himself Out Of Jail
After John Ross Jr. won a 'Set For Life' scratch off game, he was looking forward to turning his life around. However, Ross soon <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/john-ross-california-lott_n_1590089.html" target="_hplink">found himself behind bars</a> after he allegedly helped a woman hide and repair a stolen car.
Woman 'Hides' Winning Ticket At McDonald's
Mirlande Wilson, a McDonald's employee in Baltimore, claimed she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/02/mirlande-wilson-maryland-mcdonalds-worker_n_1396943.html" target="_hplink">had won the record-high $656 million Mega Millions jackpot </a>and that she <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/what_mega_mess_wHA9HVdfxA1VDSqWn58KtJ" target="_hplink">was not going to share her winnings</a> with co-workers, who alleged that Wilson was a part of a workplace lottery pool. Wilson announced that she had <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/marlinde-wilson-mega-millions-winner-ticket-mcdonalds_n_1402892.html" target="_hplink">hid the winning ticket at a McDonald's</a> and subsequently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/mirlande-wilson-mega-millions-mcdonalds_n_1408105.html" target="_hplink">claimed to have lost the ticket</a>. In the end, it was revealed<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/maryland-mega-millions-winner_n_1414857.html" target="_hplink"> Wilson never even had the winning ticket</a>.
Geniuses Outsmart Massachusetts Cash WinFall
A group including MIT undergraduates and a biomedical researcher <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/massachusetts-cash-winfall-lottery_n_1729416.html" target="_hplink">discovered a loophole in the Cash WinFall game</a> that netted them nearly $48 million. Apparently, lottery officials knew about the scam since at least 2010, but did nothing about it because it generated $16 million in revenue for the state.
Lotto Winner Found Million Dollar Ticket While Cleaning Out Desk
Retired hospice chaplain Ron Yurcus <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/15/ron-yurcus-glen-ellyn-lot_n_2139308.html">stumbled across a million-dollar miracle when he found a winning lottery ticket while cleaning out his desk</a> in November 2012. He had purchased the Powerball ticket from a BP gas station two months earlier.
Controversy Over Record Mega Millions Jackpot
After <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/mirlande-wilson-mega-millions-mcdonalds_n_1408105.html" target="_hplink">McDonald's employee Mirlande Wilson</a> falsely claimed she won Mega Millions' record $656 million jackpot, three <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/maryland-mega-millions-winner_n_1414857.html?ref=money#s785675&title=Undocumented_Immigrant_Awarded" target="_hplink">Maryland school teachers</a> stepped forward to claim their share of the prize.
New York Brothers Charged With Scamming $5 Million Lottery Ticket
Two brothers from central New York who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/andy-and-nayel-ashkar-lottery-scam_n_2123886.html">claimed a $5 million lottery ticket sold at their family's store were accused in November 2012 of scamming the winning ticket from a customer.</a> Andy Ashkar, 34, and Nayel Ashkar, 36, are charged with second-degree attempted grand larceny and fourth-degree conspiracy.
Chicago Man Wins New Jersey Lottery While Cleaning Up After Hurricane Sandy
John Turner, a 38-year-old Chicago man, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/11/john-turner-wins-lottery-_n_2105194.html">bought a winning $100,000 lottery ticket </a>after coming to New Jersey to help clean up after Hurricane Sandy. Turner runs National Catastrophe Solutions of Chicago, a local water removal business.
Homeless Man Wins $200,000 Lottery Prize
A homeless man in Greenville, S.C. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/19/homeless-man-wins-lottery-greenville_n_1989771.html">won $200,000 from a scratch-off lottery game</a> in October 2012.
Teen Cancer Survivor Wins Mega Millions Lottery
Nicholas Ruth, a 19-year-old cancer survivor, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/nicholas-ruth-teen-cancer-survivor-mega-millions-lottery-video_n_1916132.html">matched five of the six numbers in the state's Mega Millions lottery</a>, earning himself a second-tier prize of $250,000 in September 2012. After taxes, Ruth will have about $165,000 to spend and plans to donate some of his money back to the organizations that helped him with his leukemia.
Friends Win Mega Millions Jackpot After Playing Together For 25 Years
Willie McPherson, 74, and Christopher Manzi, 44, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/06/mcpherson-manzi-mega-millions-lottery-25-years_n_1944181.html#slide=757174">won a $14 million jackpot in September 2012 </a>after playing the Mega Millions lottery together for 25 years, according to the New York Post. The two had been buying lottery tickets together after becoming friends while working at Manzi’s print shop in Manhattan.
Clerk Steals Winning Ticket From Great-Grandma
A store clerk in England tried to turn in 77-year-old Maureen Holt's winning lottery ticket himself after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/lottery-ticket-stolen-from-great-grandmother_n_1733871.html" target="_hplink">telling her it was a losing ticket</a>.
Teen Finds Ticket In Messy Bedroom
Ryan Kitching, a Scottish teenager,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/04/ryan-kitching-teenage-winning-lottery-tickert-clean-room_n_1319413.html" target="_hplink"> found a winning lottery ticket hiding in his bedroom</a> after his mother told him to clean his room. The ticket is worth more than $80,000.
Chicago Couple Keeping Millions Secret
One Chicago couple won <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-06/news/ct-met-anonymous-lottery-20111106_1_lottery-winners-illinois-lottery-lottery-jackpot" target="_hplink">$30 million in the Illinois lottery</a>, but didn't even tell their kids, according to the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>.
Connecticut Money Managers Win Big Jackpot
Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff and Tim Davidson, who work at an asset management firm in Greenwich, one of the most affluent towns in America, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/254-million-jackpot-connecticut-money-managers_n_1119321.html">came forward as lottery winners in 2011</a>. Their lawyer said they formed a trust to manage the money after Davidson bought the $1 winning ticket at a Stamford gas station.
Lotto Winner Continued To Collect Food Stamps
Amanda Clayton, 24-year-old from the Detroit-area,<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/08/amanda-clayton-michigan-lottery-food-assistance-stamps_n_1330716.html" target="_blank"> continued collecting $200 in government food assistance</a> after she won a $1 million lotto prize.
Undocumented Immigrant Awarded Lotto Prize After Lawsuit
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/jose-antonio-cua-toc-undocumented-immigrant-lottery-ticket_n_1334564.html" target="_hplink">Jose Antonio Cua-Toc, a foreign national from Guatemala,</a> sued his former boss to reclaim his lotto money, which he had given to his employer out of fear of being exposed as an undocumented immigrant. Cua-Toc won the lawsuit.
Iowa Lottery Winner Claims $16.5 Million Prize At Last Minute
The winner of an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/30/iowa-lottery-winner-last-minute_n_1176971.html">Iowa Lottery ticket in 2011 </a>valued at $16.5 million waited until two hours before the deadline to claim the prize. The ticket was purchased nearly one year ago.
Winning $80K Lottery Ticket Donated To Burglarized Georgia Church
In 2011, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/03/winning-80k-lottery-ticke_n_947272.html">an anonymous donor stepped in to help a Georgia church that was burglarized with a winning $80,000</a> lottery ticket the Associated Press reports.