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Manuel Franco Revealed As $768 Million Powerball Winner

Manuel Franco Revealed As $768 Million Powerball Winner

The winner of the $768.4 million Powerball jackpot from March has been revealed. At a press conference held by the Wisconsin Lottery on Wednesday, 24-year-old Manuel Franco spoke about the win and what he planned to do with the money.

Third-Biggest Lottery Prize in History

Franco hit the jackpot in the March 27 Powerball drawing, making him the recipient of the third-biggest jackpot in lottery history, and the biggest single Powerball prize of all time. Franco revealed, however, that the winning ticket nearly ended up in the waste.

“I got home and I see the tickets that me and my girlfriend had bought together and that’s really what reminded me of the Powerball. I went to grab those two tickets that we had bought together, went on my computer and I searched up the Powerball numbers. It said ‘Wisconsin winner’ and I’m like, ‘Well I live in Wisconsin so I’ve probably got a chance!’

“I go through the tickets that me and her had bought together and nothing, so I was disappointed. I go into my wallet and I reach for the tickets that I had bought individually and the third one I won four dollars, so I was super excited about that.

“I got to what I thought was the last ticket and it didn’t win. I was discarding [the tickets] as I went and all of a sudden I see that last ticket come out, still attached to the other one, and as soon as I looked at the first number, I knew it was something special. It was amazing. My heart started racing, blood pumping, I screamed for about five or ten minutes…”

Franco went on to say that he had been playing Powerball for around six years, since he was 18 years old. He also said he had already set up a team of financial advisors and lawyers to help him deal with the multi-million dollar win.

“I want to take a break to let it sink in and I do want to help out the world, but I have to do it correctly and make sure my future is secure.” Despite leaning towards taking the annuity, he said that he had been convinced to take the lump sum payment of $477 million, and he will end up with around $326 million after taxes. He declined to say what he did for a living, but did say that he quit work as he was unable to concentrate on the job.

He also talked about how surreal the win felt: "“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 any more. 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.”

Franco bought his lucky ticket was at a Speedway on Beloit Road in New Berlin, Milwaukee, on the way home from a shift. The store will receive a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning line.

Previous Big Winners

The winning numbers from the March 27 drawing were 16, 20, 37, 44, 62, and Powerball 12. Franco’s jackpot win is the 17th seen in Wisconsin, and the biggest prize won in the state by far. The previous record belonged to a group of 100 co-workers at a cheese company, who hit a jackpot worth $208 million. 

Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin said of Franco's win: "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."

The last Powerball jackpot to be won in the state was on March 22, 2017, when Milwaukee resident Mai Xiong won $156.2 million and opted for the cash payout of $93.1 million. Prior to Franco’s win, the biggest Powerball jackpot ever won on a single ticket belonged to Mavis Wanczyk of Massachusetts and was worth $758.7 million.

Although more states are coming round to the idea of allowing lottery winners to remain anonymous, Wisconsin is not one of them, so the identity of all big Powerball winners must be made public.

Page Last Updated: 4/24/2019 7:13:00 AM ET