But as of Friday no one had come forward to claim the prize, HuffPost confirmed with the South Carolina Education Lottery.
The mystery almost-billionaire (the winnings would net out to around $900 million after taxes) has 180 days from the drawing date to claim the pot, said Josh Whiteside, director of marketing for the South Carolina Education Lottery. That would put the deadline to redeem it at April 21.
If it goes unclaimed, the money will be returned to each of the 44 states (plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) that participate in the Mega Millions lottery.
South Carolina, for example, would receive about $11 million, according to local newspaper The State, with the money going into the state’s education fund. Each state determines for itself what to do with unclaimed lottery money. Some funnel it into other lottery games. In Georgia, a portion of unclaimed money goes toward treatment for those with gambling addictions.
And, yes, people do take their sweet time contacting the lottery commissions on occasion. In March 2017, a Wisconsin woman bought a winning $156 million Powerball ticket but did not come forward until the end of July that year. Had she not claimed the prize, the money would have gone toward property tax relief in her state.
But South Carolina lottery spokeswoman Holli Armstrong told The State that the October winner’s silence was “unusual,” considering the massive sum.
Perhaps the winner is simply figuring out how and when to get back to South Carolina ― The State theorized that the grocery store’s location could have meant someone bought a ticket and continued along one of two nearby highways out of state. Perhaps the winner is consulting with financial experts and learning how to manage such a large sum.
Or perhaps the winner accidentally threw the ticket away.
The winning numbers were 5-28-62-65-70, with a Megaball of 5.