Manuel Franco still says life sometimes feels like a dream and at any moment he is going to wake up.
“I can’t believe an ordinary guy like me can ever win the Powerball.”
And what a win it was!
Franco’s ticket was the sole winner of the $768.4 million Powerball Jackpot drawn on March 27.
The jackpot ranks as the third largest in U.S. lottery history behind the world record $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot shared by winners in California, Florida and Tennessee in January 2016, and the $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot won in South Carolina last October.
Franco claimed his prize this week at the Wisconsin Lottery in Madison, WI. He chose the cash option of approximately $477 million and will receive just over $326 million after state and federal taxes.
He spoke about his win to an assembled throng of media during a brief press conference after claiming his prize.
“I want to thank those closest to me for all the support they have given me over the years,” said Franco reading from a prepared statement.
Franco hails from West Allis – a suburb of Milwaukee. His quick pick winning numbers were 16, 20, 37, 44, 62 and the Powerball number 12 were on a ticket purchased at Speedway in New Berlin on his way home from work.
He said he felt “lucky” as he bought the ticket.
He didn’t check his numbers immediately. But as news got out the day after the draw that the winning ticket was sold in Wisconsin he made sure to do so that evening.
As he saw the first and second number match the winners, his heart started racing. Realizing he was the winner was an “amazing” feeling.
“It’s been hard to sleep pretty much every night since.”
Before the draw, Franco said that trying to get his bank account to $1000 was his biggest concern.
He’s now quit his job and is making plans for his newfound wealth. He wants to travel the world. And he intends to be responsible with win.
“I want to make a difference. I don’t want to make any bad decisions. For now I’m going to take my time deciding what to do.”
“This is truly one of the most exciting days in the 30-plus years of the Wisconsin Lottery,” said Lottery Director Cindy Polzin. “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.”
Franco says he is done with playing the lottery.
“As a winner now, I don’t plan on playing any more. But, I will say that the 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.”
Since Franco’s win, the American Powerball jackpot has reset and already ballooned to an estimated $166 Million.
Will you be the next American Powerball jackpot winner?