$768 Million Powerball Winner Comes Forward, Identified as 24-Year-Old Wisconsin Man

April 23, 2019 Updated: April 23, 2019

The winner of the $768 million Powerball lottery jackpot was identified as a 24-year-old man from New Berlin, Wisconsin, said lottery officials.

“I want to thank those closest to me for all the support they have given me over the years,” said Manuel Franco, according to a news release from Powerball.

He added: “To win feels something like a dream and I feel like at any moment I might wake up. I just can’t believe an ordinary guy like me would ever be in this position. As a winner now, I don’t plan on playing anymore. But, I will say that the two-dollar ticket you buy is worth the chance to change your life forever. It certainly has changed my life and I look forward to the future.”

His winning ticket had the numbers 6,20, 37, 44, 62, and the Powerball number 12.

Franco told reporters: “It was amazing, my heart started racing, blood pumping,” he said. “I screamed for about 5 or 10 minutes,” ABC News reported.

He added, “My dad cried a lot.”

Franco purchased the winning ticket at a Speedway station in New Berlin, ABC reported.

“I walked into the Speedway and I purchased $10 worth of individual Powerball tickets,” Franco stated. “I honestly felt so lucky that I did look up at the camera and I wanted to wink at it cause I just had that lucky feeling.”

The secret is out! "It was amazing, my heart started racing..I screamed for five to ten minutes," he said.

Posted by TODAY'S TMJ4 on Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Franco said he went to work that day, but he never showed up after learning he won.

Before winning, he said he was concerned about getting his bank account to $1,000.

The Powerball jackpot has a lump sum of $477 million, and Franco said he will accept the lump sum.

The $768.4 million jackpot is the largest lottery win in Wisconsin history, and it’s the second highest in Powerball history. It’s also the third-largest in U.S. history, according to Powerball’s website.

A sign in the window of a liquor store shows the Powerball lottery jackpot at $700 million in Washington, on Jan. 7, 2016. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

The odds of winning were 1 in 292,201,338.00.

“This is truly one of the most exciting days in the 30-plus years of the Wisconsin Lottery,” said Lottery Director Cindy Polzin in the news release. “With this historic milestone Wisconsin became WINsconsin and our state received an incredible amount of national attention. As lottery director, I have always wanted to present a ‘big check’ to a winner. I am extremely happy for Manny and his life-changing experience. It’s truly a moment to celebrate across the state.”

Massive Tax Bill

Franco, meanwhile, will pay a significant amount in taxes after taking home the lump sum.

Lottery officials withhold 24 percent for federal taxes, but the top marginal tax rate of 37 percent means the winner will owe far more than that, CNBC noted. The state of Wisconsin also has a tax on the winning.

A Speedway in New Berlin, Wisconsin. (Google Street View)

The cash option is about $477 million, which is what most winners take. With the 24 percent tax, that lump sum goes down to about $362 million. Fox Business reported that it’s likely another 13 percent will be taken from that, or about $62 million.

Lottery officials in Wisconsin will withhold 7.65 percent, or about $36.5 million, according to the report.

That means, after taxes, Franco would take home about $264 million from the lump sum value of $477 million, the Fox report noted.

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