Winner of $533 million Mega Millions jackpot revealed to be Vernon, NJ man

ByJennifer Matarese, Eyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, April 13, 2018
Winner of $533 million Mega Millions jackpot revealed to be Vernon, NJ man
Toni Yates reports on the Mega Millions jackpot winner from Vernon, New Jersey.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- The mystery winner of the $533 million Mega Millions jackpot was revealed at New Jersey Lottery headquarters in Trenton on Friday.

The newest millionaire is 47-year-old Richard Wahl, of Vernon, who bought the winning ticket at a Lukoil gas station in Riverdale, Morris County.

Wahl said that he's only played the Mega Millions twice in his life, and the second time was the charm.

The new millionaire, Richard Wahl of Vernon, NJ, bought the winning ticket at a Lukoil gas station in Riverdale, Morris County.

He decided to buy the tickets and a Coke at the gas station with the $22 he had in his wallet. He actually went to check the numbers at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 31, because he didn't realize the drawing was at 11 p.m. As his wife was folding laundry around midnight, he went downstairs and checked the numbers again.

"It was truly amazing," Wahl said.

He said his excitement grew with each number he hit, but he didn't realize he also had the Mega Ball. So initially, he thought he had won $1 million. He had tears in his eyes when he described the realization that he had actually won the jackpot.

He said he ran upstairs and told his wife, "We get to go on vacation!"

She thought he was kidding and said, "Don't be an idiot."

Wahl says they hugged and cried all night before cancelling their weekend plans, putting the winning ticket in a fire-proof safe, and checking the numbers "at least 15 times."

The Wahl family believes that it was God's plan for them to win, as it was a Quick pick ticket that won. He took the cash option worth $220.7 million, after taxes.

Wahl works as a production manager at AAK Food Service in Hillside, New Jersey. He plans stay at his job to help with the transition for a bit, and then he says he will officially retire. He plans to take care of his wife, who is from Mexico. When asked if he planned to buy her something nice, Wahl replied, "She's my wife, she's my queen, I want to make sure she's taken care of."

Wahl also plans to take care of his mother and is happy that she'll never have to worry about money again. In addition, he said he would love to rebuild a 1963 Corvette.

Wahl added that they plan to help out family members, some friends and donate money to those in need. He would not say, for safety reasons, if he had children. Wahl would also not reveal where they planned to vacation, but said he was hopping a plane Friday night.

The owner of the station won $30,000 for selling the winning ticket, and he said he planned to share the money with his employees.

The lucky numbers were 59 - 46 - 28 - 11 - 31, Mega Ball 1.

Wahl received the fourth largest jackpot in the history of the game and the 10th larges in US history. No one had matched all six numbers drawn since January.

Mega Millions tickets are sold in 43 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Top 10 largest US Lottery Jackpots

1. $1.6 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016 (three tickets, from California, Florida, Tennessee)

2. $758.7 million, Powerball, Aug. 23, 2017 (one ticket, from Massachusetts)

3. $656 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (three tickets, from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)

4. $648 million, Mega Millions, Dec. 17, 2013 (two tickets, from California and Georgia)

5. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (one ticket, from Florida)

6. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (two tickets, from Arizona and Missouri)

7. $564.1 million, Powerball, Feb. 11, 2015 (three tickets, from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas)

8. $559.7 million jackpot, Powerball, Jan. 6, 2018 (one ticket, New Hampshire)

9. $536 million, Mega Millions, July 8, 2016 (one ticket, from Indiana)

10. $533 million, Powerball, March 31, 2018 (one ticket, from New Jersey)

You can watch Richard Wahl's full press conference below:


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