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Mystery Winner in $197M Jackpot

April 7, 1999

BOSTON (AP) _ They know the hour the winning ticket was purchased, the store where it was bought and how much it’s worth.

Now lottery officials are wondering who holds the ticket to the $197 million Big Game pot, the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

``Someone’s sitting in their lawyer’s office right now, you can imagine that, or the accountant’s office, probably their travel agent’s office as well,″ said Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, who oversees the state lottery.

The mystery winner, who beat the 76 million-to-1 odds that had eluded the buyers of 328 million tickets since February, has a year to claim the prize.

The pot can be taken in a lump sum of about $70.2 million after taxes, or in 26 annual payments of about $5.1 million after taxes. The game is played in Massachusetts, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and Virginia.

The golden ticket _ numbers 12, 17, 22, 33, and 44 with the Big Money Ball of 25 _ was purchased Tuesday night at Star Market near Fenway Park.

``It’s just pure excitement here,″ said Linda Marino, assistant store manager.

Shoppers had lined up 15 people deep Tuesday waiting to buy tickets at the peak hours between 5-8 p.m. The winner was sold about 6 p.m.

``Now we’re waiting to see who won the money. Hopefully, an employee,″ Marino said.

The country’s biggest jackpot was Powerball’s $295 million prize in July. A group of 13 Ohio machinists, dubbed the Lucky 13, pooled their money and ended up sharing the prize.

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