On Dec. 17, one mom from Atlanta found herself $120 million richer (after taxes) by picking the winning numbers in the country’s second biggest lottery, the Mega Millions. After splitting the $648 jackpot with another winner from San Jose, Calif., her take is an astronomical windfall that’s far beyond any parent’s imagination.
The winning Atlanta mom is 56-year-old Ira Curry from Stone Mountain, a suburb of Atlanta. She works in the insurance industry, but after purchasing her winning ticket (a last minute decision), dreams of retirement are most certainly on the horizon. According to CNN on Dec. 18, Curry presented her winning ticket and claimed her Mega Millions jackpot today at the state lottery office.
Georgia Lottery Director Debbie Alford held a press conference on Wednesday, although the big winner wasn’t present. Ira Curry told Alford that the win was “surreal.” The director added, “They were very, very excited.” She also stated that Curry and her family are still in a state of shock.
Curry, who is married, purchased one single Mega Millions ticket at Gateway Newsstand at the Alliance Center on Lenox Rd. in Buckhead. She listened to the radio on Tuesday night as the winning numbers were announced. The big winner picked a combination of family birthdays and her family’s lucky number: 7, which was the Mega Ball. After hearing the numbers, Curry called her daughter immediately and woke her up. When Curry’s daughter repeated the numbers, the two realized that Ira held a winning ticket of a lifetime.
According to the Georgia Lottery Director, Curry and her family do not yet know what they’ll spend their windfall on. After taxes, the Atlanta mom’s net payout will be $119,935,622.32, according to CNN.
In addition to Curry and a yet unnamed winner in San Jose, 20 people in 15 states also became millionaires when they matched all numbers, except the Mega Ball, on Tuesday night. The winning numbers were 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 and Mega Ball: 7.
The jackpot snowballed to $636 million after it rolled over 21 times. According to ABC News, Mega Millions changed its rules last October and lowered the chances of winning by increasing the numbers. However, despite the almost invincible odds, mom Ira Curry from Atlanta will laugh all the way to the bank. The really great news is that the increased sales from Mega Millions will benefit Georgia’s Pre-K and Hope Scholarship programs. Now, there’s another big win that all Georgia families can enjoy.
Follow this link to WSB-TV in Atlanta to watch the press conference on the Georgia Mega Millions winner. To see AP’s report on the near record jackpot, be sure to watch the video above.