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71-year-old man wins New York's largest-ever Mega Millions prize

He plans to use his winnings to travel, buy a new home, replace his car with a newer model and donate to his church.

WASHINGTON — A 71-year-old New York man is now a multimillionaire after winning the state's largest Mega Millions jackpot ever. 

Johnnie Taylor of Howard Beach in Queens, New York, won the $476 million prize in April after more than two months passed without a jackpot winner.

According to a Wednesday press release from Mega Millions, Taylor opted for the cash value of the prize — a lump sum of more than $157 million after taxes. Winners almost always take the cash option, but they do have a choice to instead get the full amount in annual payments over 29 years. 

“It still doesn’t feel real,” Taylor said, according to the release. The retired building handyman said his wife didn't believe him about the win until he went online to show her that the winning numbers matched his ticket. 

The lottery game says Taylor wants to use his winnings to travel, buy a new home, replace his car with a newer model and donate to his church. The Queens store where he bought the winning ticket, Liberty Beer and Convenience, will get a $10,000 bonus from the New York Lottery. 

The $476 million jackpot narrowly beat New York's previous Mega Millions record of $437 million, but it doesn't even reach the nationwide top 10.  

What are the largest lottery jackpots ever won? 

1. $2.04 billion, Powerball, Nov. 8, 2022 (one ticket, from California) 

2. $1.586 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016 (three tickets, from California, Florida, Tennessee)

3. $1.537 billion, Mega Millions, Oct. 23, 2018 (one ticket, from South Carolina)

4. $1.35 billion, Mega Millions, Jan. 13, 2023 (one ticket, from Maine) 

5. $1.337 billion, Mega Millions, July 29, 2022 (one ticket, from Illinois)

6. $1.05 billion, Mega Millions, Jan. 22, 2021 (one ticket, from Michigan)

7. $768.4 million, Powerball, March 27, 2019 (one ticket, from Wisconsin)

8. $758.7 million, Powerball, Aug. 23, 2017 (one ticket, from Massachusetts)

9. $731.1 million, Powerball, Jan. 20, 2021 (one ticket, from Maryland)

10. $699.8 million, Powerball, Oct. 4, 2021 (one ticket, from California)

The game's giant prizes come with miniscule chances of actually winning — Taylor overcame odds of roughly 1 in 302.6 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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