It had to take a whole lot of luck to win Tuesday night's big $355 million Mega Millions jackpot drawing against astronomical odds. Then, there's always the question of whether you should take the annuity or the much lower one-time payment? For the $355 million jackpot, the annuity would pay $13.6 million each year for the next 26 years, so you won't be able to spend all of your winnings at once. The jackpot grew to such a huge sum because Friday night's drawing failed to produce a winner for the multi-state lottery's top prize, which was estimated to be $290 million. By Tuesday, the jackpot had reached $355 million after 15 consecutive drawings that started Nov.
Mega Millions jackpots begin with $12 million and roll over to the next drawing until there is a winner. Other smaller monetary prizes can range from $2 to $250,000, depending on how many numbers are matched. The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever won was $390 million in March 2007, according to the Mega Millions website. Although the odds of winning Mega Millions' top prize are about 1 in 176 million, that hasn't stopped people from dreaming big.
Some Mega Millions players told ABC News they were picking numbers from birthdays to home addresses. Mathematicians and lottery officials said that the odds of winning are always the same regardless of how many people play because they always draw from the same set of numbers.
Five numbers are picked from a set of balls numbered 1 to 56 and one mega number is drawn from a set of balls numbered 1 to 46. Letting the computer choose your numbers or quick picks does not necessarily increase your chances of winning.
Statistically, it doesn't matter and playing the same number time after time doesn't help you win any faster.
Experts also said it's a misconception that your chances are better if you live outside a big city. New York state leads the way with 23 Mega Millions winners and more than half of those winners came from New York City.


But some players such as seven-time lottery winner Richard Lustig have come up with their own winning method. No one matched the Mega Millions numbers last night, which increases the total jackpot to $115 million. For those of you who do not know how the Mega Millions game works, each ticket costs $1 and players pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers (five different numbers from 1 to 75 and one number from 1 to 15).
Won a dollar off mega millions last night, bought a scratch off with that and won 2$ O? I'm sure my winning streak will end there. The last person to hit the jackpot was Virginia native, Lewis Howard, when he matched all six numbers during the drawing on May 17. Michigan's latest Mega Millions millionaire doesn't owe the state a penny for his five years of room and board in prison. Courtesy PhotoBig money: Fred Topous shows the Mega Millions lottery ticket that brought him a $34 million lump-sum payout.
GRAND RAPIDS -- Michigan's latest Mega Millions millionaire doesn't owe the state a penny for his five years of room and board in prison. As word of Fred Topous' $57 million winning ticket spread, prison officials on Wednesday asked the attorney general's office if costs for time he served in prison could be recovered, as is allowed in some cases. Topous, in prison or on parole for all but three years since 1984 for three separate convictions, was discharged from the Department of Corrections on Oct. That means the attorney general can't go after any of his assets as it has with others, including Dr.
Prisons spokesman Russ Marlan said Topous had a "decent" record in prison and had a job while on parole. Topous, 45, bought Friday's winning ticket at Party World in Alpine Township and claimed the prize in Lansing Tuesday. Because the multi-state Mega Millions winners must be identified, unlike Michigan-only lottery winners, Topous' past convictions put a different spin on the typical lottery rags-to-riches story. That includes details of his most serious conviction, a 1999 plea bargain in which Topous pleaded guilty to a criminal sexual conduct charge of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration.
According to police and court records, Topous, then 35, befriended the 13-year-old daughter of his boss.


Topous told investigators the girl and her sister would stop by his Kingsley home periodically and would help themselves to beer in his refrigerator.
When asked to take a lie-detector test, he sat for a few seconds and said he wanted a lawyer, documents note. Originally charged with third-degree sexual assault and furnishing alcohol to a minor, Topous pleaded guilty to the assault with intent charge.
After the defense attorney described the relationship as consensual, Grand Traverse County Circuit Judge Philip Rodgers Jr. If you picked numbers 15, 47, 4, 25, 8 and mega number 42, out of all the people who lined up in 41 states and the District of Columbia, you did it.
Off the top, the lottery withholds 25 percent for federal taxes, and then another 6 or 7 percent for those who have state taxes, which vary by location.
You think, 'What am I going to do in my plane, where am I going to go, how big a house will I live in.' It's a level of fantasy we all engage in, somebody will win that, it could be you," said Emily Oster, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
It's all one giant computer system, so it doesn't matter," said DeFrancisco of the Georgia Lottery.
Even if Topous had to reimburse the state, it would hardly put a dent in his winnings -- nearly $34 million after he took the lump-sum payout rather than installments over 20 years. Her mother became suspicious about a new boyfriend her daughter would only talk about and called police after she came home with alcohol on her breath, according to Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Department reports. He denied a sexual relationship, and "stated that he had a wife and kids and that he would never 'do that to them,'" police reports said. He did not return messages left on his cell phone but told lottery officials he planned a long vacation and would use the money to buy a house and cover education costs for his children.



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