David Stevenson, a CPA in South Carolina, says he can’t think of a good reason why whoever bought an enormous lottery ticket in tiny Simpsonville hasn’t cashed in.
The Mega Millions ticket worth more than $1.5 billion was purchased in October. It will be worthless in about two months if no one comes forward to claim the cash.
“I could understand there might have been tax advantages to wait until 2019,” Stevenson said Thursday. “But I see no purpose in waiting now. Honestly, I think it’s lost.”
The winner could walk into lottery headquarters and walk out with a lump sum payout of $878 million. That would also mean a cool $60 million tax payment for the state of South Carolina, which now must allow for the possibility that it won’t get the windfall after all.
In Simpsonville, rumors are flying about who the lucky winner might be.
“Anyone who quit their job days after the drawing is a suspect,” Stevenson said.
If the jackpot isn’t claimed, it goes back to the states based on ticket sales. South Carolina’s share, or consolation prize, would be about $11.2 million, South Carolina Education Lottery spokeswoman Holli Armstrong said.
The state Board of Economic Advisors is bracing for the worst and considering a plan to remove the money from the state spending plan, the Associated Press reports.
Then there is C.J. Patel, owner of the KC Mart where the ticket was sold. Patel says business has picked up since the glare of the international spotlight shone on his store. Still, if the prize goes unclaimed, Patel could be out the $50,000 he was supposed to get from the lottery.
For folks digging through drawers hunting for the ticket, the winning numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 5.
The public may never know who claims the jackpot since South Carolina is one of several states where winners can remain anonymous. But the state will make an announcement when or if the prize is claimed.
Stevenson said no one has come to him looking for advice on how to invest $1.5 billion.
“I keep waiting for them to walk into my door and ask me to do their taxes,” Stevenson said. “Of course, the cost of preparing their return might go up a bit from $200, but I would be nice about it.”
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