After months of the world waiting to learn who the lucky player was, the man who bought a record-breaking $2.04Bn Powerball lottery ticket in November has finally come forward after three months to claim his massive winnings. Lottery winners have one year to come forward or they lose the money forever.
Edwin Castro bought his ticket at a gas station in Altadena, California, and has been flying below the radar and out of the public eye since the winning numbers were announced. On Tuesday, California Lottery Director Alva Johnson said that Castro had won the “unbelievable and historic” prize after the jackpot continued to grow drawing after drawing last fall and as each drawing passed, no winning jackpot numbers were announced.
Winner Takes All
He won’t have to share the prize with other players as he was the only ticket buyer that week who matched all five regular numbers plus the all-important Powerball to make a little piece of paper worth billions of dollars.
Rather than speak in public about the win, Castro released a statement that he was “shocked and ecstatic,” and that he was happy to learn that California public schools were also big winners in the draw.
The California public school system from kindergartens to universities collected a whopping $156.3 million from the lottery pool in addition to Castro taking home the jackpot, Johnson said.
Castro commented: “As someone who received the rewards of being educated in the California public education system, it’s gratifying to hear that as a result of my win, the California school system greatly benefits as well,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Rather than collecting yearly disbursements for the entire amount over a 30-year period via an annuity, Castro chose the “lump-sum” option which amounted to almost $1 billion ($997.6b), according to lottery officials.
Since neither he nor lottery officials revealed any more about the winner than his name, we would have to assume he resides in California in order to figure out how much he might net in the end. California doesn’t tax lottery winnings but some states do.
The IRS via the Lottery automatically withholds 24% of big winnings with the winner being subject to as much as 13% more for a total tax hit of 37%. The initial tax would have left him with $758.2 million. The top U.S. tax rate is 37% in total, so his take-home would be $634,785,984. If he lives in another state that taxes lottery winnings he could take another hit of 3% to more than 10% of the win.
Nice work if you can get it!
With that much “found money” it’s no wonder Castro chose to “largely remain private.” California law only requires that his name and how he chose to be paid – lump sum or annuity, be revealed.
California public schools were not the only collateral winners alongside Castro. Retailers who sell winning jackpot tickets are also awarded .5% of the jackpot value with a cap of $1,000,000 and the owner of Joe’s Mobile Service in Altadena has already collected his million-dollar check.
The odds of winning a Powerball jackpot are about one in 292.2 million. The jackpot was hit seven times in 2022.
California lottery spokesperson, Carolyn Becker, said at a press conference at state lottery headquarters in Sacramento Tuesday: “This is a history-making day here at the California Lottery. Edwin Castro shares in our love for California public schools on this Valentine’s Day — couldn’t be more fitting.”
Source: Winner of record $2-billion Powerball jackpot announced, Los Angeles Times, February 14, 2023