California's Biggest Winner Claims Mega Millions Jackpot

California's biggest lottery winner of 2022 has finally come forward this week to claim the amazing Mega Millions prize she hit in January.

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Kristine Wellenstein of Los Angeles County won the $426 million jackpot in the Friday, January 28 drawing and chose to receive the cash option lum sum. The annuity prize value was initially estimated at $421million but that was revised upwards following the draw.

Wellenstein's lucky ticket was the only one nationwide to match all six Mega Millions numbers drawn. The ticket was sold by the Chevron located at 6061 Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Woodland Hills. The station will be paid the California Lottery's top retailer bonus of $1 million for selling the winning ticket.

Although she says she is a private person who doesn't want to speak publicly, Wellenstein made a few comments to California Lottery officials. “When I realized I’d won, I was overcome with so many emotions, but mostly gratitude,” she said.

The winner also has big plans on how to use her life-changing windfall for good. "I want to give back and support local and global-based initiatives, and my team is in place to help achieve those objectives,” she said. “The real impact of my life’s work begins now."

Wellenstein’s win capped off a jackpot sequence with 27 rollovers, or draws without a winner. It began when a $108 million grand prize was hit in Arizona on October 22, 2021. In California, ticket sales of $110.3 million during this jackpot run will see public schools benefit from $40 million in Lottery funding.

“We love having big jackpots and big wins in California,” said California State Lottery Director Alva V. Johnson. “Higher jackpots typically result in higher sales, of course, and that means more money for public education, which we are proud to support. The Lottery exists solely to benefit schools, so not only do we congratulate Ms. Wellenstein on this terrific win, but we also congratulate students from elementary on up through university, who greatly benefit as well.”

January was a big month for jackpots in the Golden State. A $632.6 million Powerball prize was jointly won on January 5 by a ticket sold in Sacramento and one purchased in Wisconsin. The California winner came forward in May to claim his incredible $316.3 million half of the prize. Orlando Zavala Lozano opted for the lump sum payout of $225.1 million before federal tax withholdings.

Next Jackpots

Mega Millions fans have the chance to win big tonight, Friday, June 10, with a $226 million jackpot up for grabs (cash value $129.8 million).

Saturday, June 11 brings an even bigger prize, with the drawing for a $229 million Powerball jackpot (cash value  $132.3 million).

Tickets for both draws are available now.

Published: Friday, June 10, 2022
Updated: Friday, June 10, 2022