MARCIO SANCHEZ (Associated Press)
LOS ANGELES (FloridaToday.news) — A tiny neighborhood store in downtown Los Angeles sold an estimated $1.08 billion in Powerball jackpot winning ticket, the sixth largest in U.S. history and the third largest in the game’s history.
The winning numbers for the Wednesday night draw were white 7, 10, 11, 13, 24 and red Powerball 24.
The winner can choose either a total jackpot paid out annually or a lump sum payout of $558.1 million before taxes. According to the California Lottery, winners are not required to declare themselves publicly, but their names and distribution of money are public records.
The winning ticket was sold at Las Palmitas convenience store, which will receive a $1 million bonus from the lottery. According to the representative of the lottery Carolyn Becker, the owner of the store is Maria Leticia Menjivar.
Lottery officials handed a giant token check to the owner and her family, including her husband Navor Herrera, a manager, and put up signs that read “Billionaire Made Here”.
Asked about the store’s million-dollar windfall, Herrera set his sights on the future.
“I have to make a bigger store, more products, better service for people. Now it’s my business,” he said.
“The store is small, but the luck there is “big,” Herrera joked.
Narrow convenience store, located in the city’s fashion district, is a few blocks from the scene of homelessness and poverty Skid Row, where thousands of people live in makeshift shacks that line entire blocks of the area.
The 107-block area is both the center of the West Coast apparel industry as well as a low-income area with small shops offering clothes, accessories and sidewalk fabrics. Bargain seekers flock to the area, but many storefronts are closed.
The winner must show up to the California Lottery to claim the prize and should consider hiring financial and legal advisors, spokeswoman Carolyn Becker told reporters.
“And then we need to spend time checking the winner to make sure it’s the right person,” Becker said. “Honesty and transparency are incredibly important to us, so we probably won’t know about it for months to come.”
A crowd of reporters rushed into the narrow convenience store, creating an early morning buzz.
Lucy Jameel, who works nearby, came to the market after hearing about the jackpot.
“I’m very excited—very, very excited,” said Jameel, an employee at a store that sells items such as backpacks, strollers and beauty bags. “This morning when I woke up, I prayed to God, you know, if God willing, it will be someone who works here.”
Final ticket sales increased the jackpot from its previous estimate of $1 billion to $1.08 billion at the time of the draw, moving it from the seventh to sixth largest US Lottery jackpot ever won.
The horrendous 1 in 292.2 million game odds are designed to create big prizes that attract more players.
The biggest Powerball jackpot was $2.04 billion in November, also in California, making Thursday the second time in less than a year that someone in Los Angeles County became a Powerball billionaire.
The last time anyone hit the Powerball jackpot was on April 19th for a top prize of nearly $253 million.
Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Associated Press contributors John Antchak and Amanchai Biraben contributed.
This story has been corrected to correct the spelling of Navor Herrera’s name. This is Navor, not Navor. It has also been corrected to show that Herrera is the store manager and not the owner.