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2nd winner of $636M lottery jackpot forgot he bought ticket

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:32 p.m. HST, Jan 03, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif. >> California's $324 million Mega Millions jackpot winner Steve Tran had a 3 a.m. epiphany earlier this week that spurred him from sleep and had him fumbling through a pile of lottery tickets on top of his dresser.

"I remembered, I think I went to San Jose," the Northern California delivery driver told state lottery officials, who had publicized that the winning ticket was purchased at a gift shop in that city.

Tran checked his tickets, and the winner was "just sitting in my house, on top of my drawer."

After hugs from family, Tran phoned his boss.

"I'm really sorry boss. I hit the jackpot. I don't think I'm going to come in today, tomorrow, or ever," Tran remembered.

The $648 million jackpot is the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. It started its ascent Oct. 4. Lotto officials say 22 draws came and went without winners. Some $336 million in tickets were sold for the Dec. 17 drawing.

The other winner, Ira Curry, is from Georgia and came forward to claim her prize Dec. 18. Lottery officials there say she opted to take the lump sum payment of about $120 million after taxes.

Tran has 60 days to figure out how he wants to be paid.

Tran, who did not say where he lives, said his family likes to visit San Jose because of the city's large Vietnamese population.

While visiting the area to eat and shop, Tran bought 5 Quick Pick tickets from Jennifer's Gift Shop, owned by Thuy Nguyen.

Nguyen will also receive $1 million for selling the winning ticket.

Tran told lottery officials that he saw coverage that the winning ticket had been purchased in San Jose, but had forgotten about his purchase.

"Must be a lucky man," Tran thought.

Then he went on vacation, and forgot about the lottery.

It wasn't until his middle-of-the-night inspiration upon his return that Tran realized he had indeed purchased tickets in San Jose.

He came forward Thursday, 16 days after the drawing, to claim his prize.

Curry, of Stone Mountain, lives in a neighborhood of brick and stucco houses with manicured lawns about 10 miles east of Atlanta. She lives in a two-story home with a two-car garage and a basketball goal in the driveway.

She purchased the ticket at the Gateway Newsstand in the Alliance Center building in Buckhead, a financial center in Atlanta.

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HOSSANA wrote:
Give me one damm reason why local officials, HYPOCRITES THEY ARE, don't approve of a lottery or connect with the mega-lottery here in Hawaii. All these law enforcement officials, religious hypocrites, and other zealots opposed to the lottery don't really have a leg to stand on and all these social agencies that have their hands out for monies from the State, should be the very ones supporting having a lottery here in Hawaii. All these reasons of organized crime etc...is just to instill fear in the public. Nothing more and nothing less.
on January 3,2014 | 08:25AM
environmental_lady wrote:
Because the poor unproportionately buy lottery tickets with dreams of getting rich when that scarce money should go into feeding their children. For one lucky winner millions have to sacrifice. It's a LOSE-win situation like a regressive tax.
on January 4,2014 | 09:14AM
Uncleart66 wrote:
Because they get a slice of the card games they protect......
on January 3,2014 | 09:00AM
paniolo wrote:
I wish I could have his kind of epiphany. Oh yeah, no can. Hawaii no more lottery. That's why we broke.
on January 3,2014 | 01:11PM
Kiyoshi2011 wrote:
"Hawaii no more lottery. That's why we broke." ........ That is the stupidest statement of the year so far.
on January 3,2014 | 02:28PM
DAGR81 wrote:
Kiyoshi, take a deep breath and relax...nothing to get upset about. Have a Happy New Year.
on January 3,2014 | 02:36PM
paniolo wrote:
Kiyoshi, you must have plenty money to give to the State in taxes, because I don't. You must not complain about all the horrible State roads, because I do. If you don't like how the State wastes money and don't use it where it's needed, no complain, because I will. You must think our politicians use our money wisely, because I don't. Isn't that why they keep saying, "We don't have money?" Like what DAGR81 said, Have a Happy New Year.
on January 3,2014 | 03:41PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Good for Tran! I hope he comes to visit Hawaii and shows us how winning the lottery can make a person's life turn into a dream. Unfortunately, nobody in Hawaii will ever have that chance because we have a lot of pseudo-Mormon like people.
on January 4,2014 | 06:30AM
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