Record $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot claimed in Florida: What we know about the winner

TAMPA (WFLA) – The largest-ever Mega Millions jackpot — a $1.602 billion prize hit by a single ticket sold in Florida four months ago — has been claimed, but we still don’t exactly know who the winner is.

The winner came forward in late September, nearly two months after hitting the jackpot off a ticket sold at a Publix in Neptune Beach. Under Florida law, however, the winner’s name wasn’t released.

Florida is one of a number of states that, at least temporarily, withholds the names of major lottery prize winners. After 90 days, a winner’s name is no longer confidential in Florida.

As of Christmas, the Florida Lottery was legally allowed to release the name of the record-setting Mega Millions winner.

Lottery officials confirmed the winner’s identity Wednesday: It’s as an entity called Saltines Holdings, LLC, which decided to take the jackpot’s one-time, lump-sum cash payment of $794,248,882.

An LLC is a business structure in the U.S. that protects its owners from personal responsibility for its debts or liabilities. By claiming the prize using an LLC, the winner of the ticket cleverly avoided having to reveal their identity.

In Florida, where the ticket was claimed, the name of the owner of an LLC is a matter of public record. In this case, however, the winner of the jackpot filed the LLC in Delaware, a state where the owner of an LLC is not public.

It’s not uncommon for winners to claim their prizes through an LLC or a trust. This year alone, two other Mega Millions jackpots were claimed by LLCs and three were claimed through a trust. Doing so allows winners the chance at anonymity.

The Mega Millions jackpot currently sits at an estimated $92 million after two tickets in California — sold at the same gas station — won the grand prize in early December.

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 per game and are sold in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. ET.

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