By Chuck Ross
Six months ago, on Jan. 12, it was announced by Powerball lottery officials that the $1.6 billion jackpot — the biggest lottery jackpot ever in the U.S. — had been split among three winning tickets: one in Florida, one in Tennessee and one in Chino Hills, Calif.
The Florida and Tennessee winners long ago claimed their prizes and held news conferences.
But until last Friday, no one had claimed the prize in Chino Hills. From press reports, it’s now clear that the reason was because the winning couple want to remain as private as possible in winning a very public fortune.
Here’s what the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday: “Neighbors say that Marvin and Mae Acosta moved into their tidy, new Eastvale home in Riverside County late last year.
“Then, about a week ago, moving vans appeared out front.
“On Friday, the couple walked into the California Lottery’s office in Van Nuys with a Powerball ticket for the record Jan. 12 jackpot worth $1.6 billion. Their share of the pot before taxes was estimated at $528.8 million. The Acostas, who purchased the ticket at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, opted for the lump sum payment of $327.8 million before federal taxes.
Lottery officials said that by law, the lucky couple would have to be publicly identified after they came forward.”
The Acostas chose not to have a press conference; rather, California Lottery officials only released this statement on the Acostas’ behalf:
“We are thankful and blessed for the rare gift that has been placed in our care. We have engaged a team of advisors to educate and guide us through this process so that we can be good stewards of these new resources. While many decisions are still to be made, we have committed nearly all of this new resource to a Trust and to charities that are important to us. While we are very grateful for the wonderful wishes and encouragement we’ve received, it is not our intention to become public figures, and we ask for and appreciate privacy going forward. Thank you.”
The Associated Press and ABC News reported: “Public records showed that Marvin Acosta is 39 years old and Mae Acosta is 40.”
That’s about all that is known about the couple. No pictures were released. Where they moved to is anyone’s guess.
It’s probably the strategy many of us would choose if we were lucky enough to win lottery millions.