Retiree claims $425.3 million Powerball prize in California

Wed Apr 2, 2014 2:30pm EDT
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By Laila Kearney

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A retired Northern California man has claimed a $425.3 million national Powerball prize, more than a month after the sixth-highest jackpot drawing in U.S. history was announced, lottery officials said on Wednesday.

Raymond Buxton turned up at the Sacramento office of the California Lottery on Tuesday with the winning ticket from the February 19 drawing, California Lottery spokeswoman Melissa Villarin said.

Buxton, whose age was not released, wore a faded T-shirt with an image of the "Star Wars" character Yoda, wearing leprechaun attire, emblazoned with the words "Luck of the Jedi I have," lottery officials said in a written statement.

Buxton purchased his ticket for $2 at a Chevron gas station, in the Northern California city of Milpitas, about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco, where he went to buy a sandwich for lunch, lottery officials said. It was the second ticket he bought for the drawing.

After learning that he hit the largest jackpot ever won in California with the numbers - 17, 49, 54, 35, 1 and 34 - Buxton said he could barely speak.

"'Unbelievable!' is all I could muster," Buxton told lottery officials, according to the statement. "I sat in front of the computer for hours in disbelief, frequently checking and rechecking the numbers across multiple sources. Once the initial shock passed I couldn't sleep for days," he said.

Buxton, the lone recipient of the massive prize, opted for the lump sum of $242.2 million before federal taxes, lottery officials said. Before claiming the money, he waited to assemble a legal and financial team and spoke little about his winnings.

"Sitting on a ticket of this value was very scary," Buxton said, according to the lottery statement.   Continued...