Monday, March 10, 2014
FAIRFIELD -- The mystery winner of an $8.2 million lottery jackpot has been identified as Linda VonOesen of Fairfield.
"This is the largest win in a number of years now," Tim Poulin, deputy director for the Maine State Lottery, said Friday.
A call to VonOesen's home on Friday afternoon was not returned before press time.
According to Poulin, VonOesen was camping with her husband on Sept. 27, when state officials announced that the winning ticket in the Wednesday, Sept. 26, drawing had been purchased at the Big Apple convenience store on Norridgewock Road.
She got a phone call from family members who knew she usually bought her tickets at that store, asking her to check her ticket for the winning numbers.
Poulin said that VonOesen, who he said is in her 60s, came to the lottery office in Augusta on Sept. 28 to see if she had actually won; after that, she and her husband resumed their camping trip.
Poulin said the VonOesen's seemed grounded, which he said is typical of the Maine lottery winners he's seen.
"I've not heard of anybody that's been extravagant," he said. "They take care of the things that need taking care of. They pay off debt and take care of their family and make sure that they'll be able to live a comfortable life when they retire."
The winning ticket was a $2 easy pick that she bought on Monday, Sept. 24, at 8:22 p.m.
The $8,175,000 prize is one of the 10 largest jackpots ever won in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the three states that play Megabucks.
Rather than take the full value in payments over 30 years, VonOesen opted for a lump sum payment of $5.9 million. After taxes, she will get $4,148,922 via check or direct deposit.
Before VonOesen came forward, store clerks speculated that the winner was a regular customer who frequently plays. On Friday, clerks said that they would likely recognize the winner's face, although they did not recognize her name.
As a matter of policy, the state lottery office protects the identity of the winner for five business days, a period that ended Friday afternoon.
C.N. Brown, which owns the Big Apple chain, will get $30,000 for selling the ticket.
The lottery office is organizing an event at the winning store and a press conference in Augusta next week at which VonOesen is expected to be available for questions.
Poulin said that ticket sales for the Megabucks game are higher in Maine than in Vermont or New Hampshire. "Mainers have adopted this as their local lotto game," he said.
Still, he expected that the lowered jackpot amount will temporarily slow ticket sales statewide.
With the win, the jackpot amount, which rose steadily since the last win in October 2011, was reset to $1 million. The numbers are drawn on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and tonight's jackpot is estimated to be $1.1 million.
Matt Hongoltz-Hetling -- 861-9287