We all dream of winning the lottery someday and changing our life around. It is no surprise that people from all over the world regularly play US Powerball with the hope of matching all those lucky numbers. Winning the huge jackpot would mean a carefree life, as Powerball offers the biggest prizes in the lottery industry!
You will be happy to read all the Powerball lottery winner success stories, as there is no reason for you not to become the next lucky ticket holder. The list of Powerball jackpot winners below will prove to you that playing is the only way to turn your dreams into reality. Let’s see the top 10 Powerball jackpot winners in history!
1. $1.586 billion – January 13, 2016
Back in 2016, the Powerball jackpot climbed higher and higher, getting the whole world excited. This historical event set a sky-high new record of almost $1.6 billion! Three tickets eventually matched all the lucky numbers, and the ticket holders came forward to claim their share of the jackpot.
Mae and Marvin Acosta from California; John and Lisa Robinson from Tennessee; and Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt, became the luckiest people on Earth. They are still the record holders for winning the biggest US Powerball jackpot ever.
The Robinsons chose to take their $528.8 million in one lump-sum payment, which meant they got $327.8 million after taxes. They went on live television to share their amazing story right before beginning the collection process. It turns out that John bought the Quick Pick ticket from a local store before heading home.
The Acostas waited 6 months before collecting their prize and took the time to seek financial advice before coming forward. They declined media appearances and chose to remain under the radar. Their names were made public as required by the lottery’s anonymity rules for winners, but the couple insisted on keeping any other information about them private. They said they were going to use a lot of their Powerball money on charities!
David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith collected their prize as the Nickel 95 Trust and opted for the lump sum cash payment. Maureen declared that she has been playing the lottery with the same numbers for years and their ticket was also bought from a local supermarket. Apparently, the lucky numbers strategy can pay off eventually!
2. $768.4 million – March 27th, 2019
After a long series of rollovers, the US Powerball jackpot reached a whopping $768.4 million on March 27th, 2019. The jackpot was estimated at $750 million initially, but the total amount was increased due to unexpectedly high ticket sales. This is the second largest jackpot in the history of the US Powerball and there was only one winning ticket for it sold in Wisconsin. The lucky winner came forward on April 23rd. His name is Manuel Franco and he is only 24 years old.
But even at his young age, he’s been playing Powerball for many years now. Manuel Franco told the press that he was 18 when he bought his very first Powerball ticket. Perseverance is the key to winning the lottery, as his story attests.
But Manuel knew that something big was coming his way. On March 27th, when he bought his tickets, he felt extremely lucky. And he was so right about it. That day, he won $768 million and he became Powerball’s biggest winner.
So, what’s next for Manuel? One thing he’s sure about is that he’s not going back to his old job. He went to work the day after he found out about the jackpot, but soon realized that he doesn’t have to do that anymore. He took the time to prepare for claiming his jackpot and chose the lump sum payout, worth $477 million.
After paying the taxes on that, he was left with $326 million. He has big plans for his Powerball fortune, but he doesn’t want to rush into things. He wants to find a long-term plan instead of squandering it all off on expensive cars and parties. “I do want to help out the world but I want to make sure my future is secure.”
He or she is now the biggest Powerball winner of all times and the world’s second largest lottery winner. With all of these records set, the Wisconsin winner is bound to be a lottery legend. It remains to be seen if he or she will choose the annuity option of the lump sum payout for the prize, which was announced at $477 million.
3. $758.7 million – August 23, 2017
The second biggest Powerball jackpot was won by a single ticket holder! Mavis Wanczyk became the largest single jackpot winner in history at that time. The 53-year-old mother of two from Massachusetts took home a cash lump sum of $480.5 million. She decided to retire from her job as a healthcare worker in a local hospital.
“I just want to sit back and relax. I had a pipe dream, and my pipe dream has finally come true. I wanted to retire, and it came early.”
After quitting her job at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mavis decided to take a step back from the public eye and enjoy her luck on her own. She said she plans to relax, hide in her bed, and think about what she wants to do next. She also mentioned giving back to her community in order to pay it forward!
4. $731.1 million – January 20, 2021
The year 2021 started with a band for a a group of Powerball fans from the struggling coal mining town of Lonaconing in West Maryland. “The Power Pack”, as they called themselves, took their time until cashing the mouth-watering jackpot of $731.1 million. Only in May did they go to the Maryland Lottery to start the prize claiming process. They decided not to reveal their identity as Maryland is one of the states that allow winners to remain anonymous. However, keeping quiet about such a huge windfall could prove difficult if the ticket was bought by a local as Lonaconing is a town of about 300 families that’s well off the beaten track.
5. $699.8 million – October 4, 2021
This is what the California Lottery tweeted after the draw of October 4th, 2021 when a lucky ticket holder from the Golden State stopped Powerball’s rollover streak. No one had won the game’s grand prize since June 5. This means the Powerball jackpot had gone for three months and 40 draws without a top-prize winner.
The massive Powerball jackpot worth $699.8 million grew ahead of the drawing from the advertised amount of $685 million due to brisk ticket sales. This made the prize jump to fifth position in the top of largest Powerball jackpots.
The winner came forward two months later. After long consideration, Scott Godfrey from Sacramento, California cashed in his newfound wealth as a lump sum. This will bring him a cash influx of $496 million. The amount is, however, subject to taxes. A federal tax of 24% is taking off about $119 million. This leaves Scott Godfrey with a hefty $377 million.
When claiming the prize, the lucky winner talked a bit about his plans with the money. He is planning to get involved into charity work, but this is probably all that we will hear of him as he is decided to keep his private life away from the public eye.
6. $687.8 million – October 27, 2018
Back in October 2018, the US Powerball jackpot rolled over again and again. Excitement built up until the prize has reached $687.8 million, and everyone wanted to get in the game for the enormous pot. Two lottery players, one from New York, and one from Iowa, eventually matched the five main numbers and the Powerball and shared the jackpot.
Lerynne West from Redfield, Iowa, came forward to claim her share of the prize and opted for the lump sum payout, amounting to $198.1 million. She plans to help support her family and friend, as well as those in need through the Callum Foundation she established to honor her grandson who died soon after being born.
Robert Bailey, 67, from Manhattan, is the other winning ticket holder. He is a retired federal employee who has been playing the lottery regularly using the same numbers for the last 25 years. Eventually, he had a stroke of luck when deciding to take cover from the rain in a Harlem Deli. There, he purchased his Powerball ticket and the rest is history!
Bailey plans to buy a new house for his mother and make smart investments for himself and his family. He also said that he will keep playing the lottery with the same numbers that brought him so much luck.
7. $632.6 million – January 5, 2022
After 40 successive draws, all six Powerball winning numbers for the draw of January 5th, 2022 were matched by two ticket holders, one from Wisconsin and one from California . As a result, a mouth-watering Powerball jackpot worth $632.6 million will be split between the two. Each of them has the choice of getting an annuity worth $316.3 million spread out over 30 yearly payments, or to cash the prize as a lump sum of $225.1 million in cash.
No matter which option they choose, they will have to pay 24% of the prize’s cash value in federal taxes and the top income tax rate of 37%. The winner in Wisconsin will also have to pay state of 7.65%. The final amount each winner will get is significantly different. If they both take the lump sum cash option, the split jackpot will have an after-taxes value of $142.4 million in California compared to $125.1 million in Wisconsin.
8. $590.5 million – May 18, 2013
Gloria MacKenzie won the Powerball jackpot when she was 84, becoming the oldest Powerball winner ever. She was the sole winner in that draw, cashing in $590.5 million with a Quick Pick ticket.
Her success story is inspiring, as it comes from the kindness of strangers. MacKenzie was waiting in line at her local grocery store when a woman was kind enough to let her cut in line. The winning Quick Pick ticket would have gone to the polite stranger, as she also chose this method when purchasing her Powerball ticket.
Gloria MacKenzie shared her fortune with her son and set up a foundation to support education. She also donated a large sum to her local school where she used to work as a teacher.
9. $587.5 million – November 28, 2012
The fifth biggest jackpot was shared by two players; Matthew Good from Phoenix, Arizona, and Cindy and Mark Hill from Missouri. Matthew Good was the first to claim his prize and he chose the lump sum payout for his half of the prize. This amounted to a staggering $192 million after taxes!
The couple who had the other winning ticket also opted for the cash payout. Cindy and Mark Hill came to the Powerball press conference with their three sons and their adopted 6-year-old daughter. After their amazing win, the Hills maintained their lifestyle, spending most of the money on charity work in their hometown.
10. $564 million – February 11, 2015
The $564 million jackpot of February 2015 was shared by two players, and a group from Texas. The three winning tickets belonged to Marie Holmes from North Carolina, Andrew Weber who claimed the prize for a Texas trust, and an anonymous player from Puerto Rico.
Marie Holmes became quite a celebrity after her big win, as she made the news repeatedly. Before her Powerball win, she was struggling financially, raising three kids, and juggling two jobs. When her financial issues vanished, her personal life took a news-worthy turn. She made headlines for repeatedly bailing out her drug-dealing boyfriend by spending tens of millions of dollars. Eventually, she started seeking help to get her life back on track and manage her new-found fortune.
11. $559.7 million – January 6, 2018
The beginning of 2018 brought amazing news for a group of lottery player from New Hampshire who chose to remain anonymous. They collected the prize through a trust and took home the full jackpot worth $559.7 million, as they had the only winning ticket. The group donated $250,000 to local charities for helping girls and contributing to ending hunger.
12. $487 million – July 30, 2016
Another winner from New Hampshire won a huge prize in 2016. The $487 million was claimed by a family who chose to remain anonymous. Their lawyers collected the jackpot on their behalf and explained that the couple was the most deserving for the amazing prize. They also explained that the winners planned to use their fortune to make the world a better place!
13. $456.7 million – March 17, 2018
After the amazing January jackpot, 2018 brought another record-breaking main prize. On March 17, the jackpot reached $456.7 million and it was won in Pennsylvania by a player who chose to stay anonymous. They chose the cash lump payout of $273.9 million before due taxes.
14. $448.4 million – August 7, 2013
The $448.4 million Powerball jackpot was won by two players and the famous Ocean’s 16 syndicate from New Jersey. A 70-year-old man from New Jersey and a project engineer from Minnesota held the winning tickets, along with the group of 16 co-workers going by Ocean’s 16.
The public employees of the Ocean County, the New Jersey Department of Transportation regularly played the lottery together and they still are some of the biggest syndicate winners in Powerball history. They chose the cash lump pay method and left with $86 million!
Where are the Biggest Powerball Winners Now?
The Robinsons, who held one of the three winning tickets for the biggest jackpot to date ($1.586 billion), have invested in a multi-million dollar home after their win. They now live in a luxury home that comes with a private lake and well-equipped theater. Other than that, they stayed away from the public eye, enjoying their fortune in private.
Unlike them, Maureen Smith and Kevin Kaltschmidt who won the same legendary draw, have maintained a modest lifestyle. They still live in the same house in Florida, and their only major investments were a Tesla and a brand-new SUV.
Marvin and Mae Acosta, the final third of the $1.586 billion jackpot winners of 2016 have maintained a low profile. They stayed quiet and chose to not appear in the press or anywhere else. Moreover, when they tried to set up a charity, scammers tried to take advantage of their plans to give back! The same thing happened to Mavis Wanczyk whose name was used by scammers, but luckily the authorities caught on.
How about the oldest Powerball winner, Gloria MacKenzie? Although her family asked for privacy, we know that MacKenzie changed her rental apartment and bought a $1.2 million seaside mansion in Jacksonville, Florida. She also donated $2 million to a high school in Maine to pay it forward.
Generally, major lottery winners who beat the lottery odds choose to share their luck with the world, through donations and charity work. Some of them also try to fulfill their life-long dream of traveling and supporting their family, especially through hard times.
What would you do if you played Powerball and won a huge jackpot? Take these inspiring success stories as a starting point and start playing because that’s the only way you stand a chance of joining the Powerball Hall of Fame. The biggest Powerball winners were also just dreamers before becoming multi-millionaires. Good luck in the next Powerball draw!