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Atlanta woman named winner of Mega Millions

Special to SEGAZINE

Ira Curry, of Stone Mountain, is $318 million richer (before taxes) – one of two winning tickets for Tuesday night’s jackpot was sold in Buckhead.

The ticket was sold at the Gateway Newsstand inside One Alliance Center on Lenox Road.

President and CEO Georgia Lottery, Debbie Alford, announced the name of the winner in a news conference held Wednesday afternoon.

Curry said her daughter was the one who told her she won.

“It’s unreal,” said Curry. “It’s like I’m still dreaming.”

Curry chose the cash option and will take home $173 million before taxes. She said she has not decided how she will spend the jackpot.

The owner of Gateway Newsstand will not get any money, the law was changed a few years back.

Going into the Mega Millions drawing Tuesday night, the jackpot reached $636 million, the second largest in the game’s history.

The cash option for a single winner for this jackpot is $341,201,717. Curry will have to split that with another winning-ticket-holder in California.

The drawing aired live on Channel 2 at 11 p.m. Tuesday, right before the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat.

Ross Wyatt, a financial services representative with Piedmont Group of Atlanta said if you win you can’t be rash.

“Don’t go out and spend money on lavish things. You should look at growing the money before spending it all,” Wyatt told Channel 2′s Craig Lucie.

“Invest it in mutual funds and some trusts. We would bring in tax attorneys, CPAs, people of that nature,” Wyatt said.

Attorney Tony Kalka said if you’re playing in a lottery pool you’ll need to attach a copy of the tickets and decide the numbers.

Kalka also advised signing the ticket in front of a notary and depositing the ticket in a safety deposit box.

With the Friday the 13th drawing failing to produce any winner the new amount was the second-largest jackpot in American history.

The largest Mega Millions prize was an advertised $656 million split by three winners in March 2012.

No one matched five numbers and the Mega Ball in 21 straight drawings, but odds of a winner increase as more tickets are sold.

A major game revamp to Mega Millions in October — aimed at growing bigger jackpots in a shorter amount of time — decreased the odds of a person winning the top prize to about 1 in 259 million. It was previously about 1 in 176 million, nearly the same odds as winning the Powerball jackpot. Still, the cost for a chance at winning millions with Mega Millions is just $1.

ActionNewsJax.com.

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