Georgia Woman Claims Georgia Mega Millions Ticket, San Jose Winner Unconfirmed

Whether payday's tomorrow or not isn't going to matter much for Ira Curry: The 56-year-old Stone Mountain, Ga., resident has come forward to claim her half of $648-million Mega Millions jackpot. Previously $636 million, the jackpot went up by $12 million after last-minute Tuesday sales were added in, making the jackpot the second-largest payout in Mega Millions history. Curry used a mix of family birthdays and the family's lucky number 7 (original) to choose her numbers for the drawing. She had a 1 in 259 million chance of winning.

But win she did, and Curry's elected to take the lump-sum option over the annuity, which, after taxes, boils down to $119,935,622.32, according to CNN's conservative calculations. It's also about three times more than the GDP of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu.

"It’s unreal … like I’m still dreaming,” Curry said yesterday.

Curry found out she won when she was driving: after hearing the Mega Ball number was 7, she called her daughter to hop on the computer and check the rest of the numbers. 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 and 7. She had it. The ticket had been a last-minute purchase from a newsstand in Buckhead, an upmarket suburb of Atlanta.

Curry's reluctant to address the media beyond these details, and has asked lottery officials to only reveal basic information. “We’re not interested in any publicity at all,” said someone at the Curry home when an NBC reporter rang. It's not unusual for winners to go into hiding for a few days after winning, while they take time to think about what to do with the money and probably have a think about how much it's going to change things.

But it's not only Curry who won: In Georgia, the taxed money given to the state is used to help fund educational projects including scholarships, tech upgrades for schools, and pre-kindergarten programs. According to Forbes, "As a result of funding through the lottery, more than 1.6 million students have been able to attend colleges through Georgia’s HOPE scholarship program and more than 1.3 million four-year-olds have attended pre-kindergarten."

The winner of the California ticket, sold in San Jose, has yet to come forward.