April 2, 2014 – It’s been seven weeks since one California player won the largest Powerball prize ever in the state, a $425.3 million jackpot prize. On Tuesday, the lucky winner came forward to claim his ticket.
B. Raymond Buxton turned $2 into $425 million on the Feb. 19 Powerball drawing, and said it was no mistake that he came forward on Tuesday, April Fool’s Day.
After consulting advisers and gathering a team to help him handle his incredible windfall, Buxton wanted to wait for April 1 to claim his prize because it would be funny. He even wore a special shirt for the occasion – a t-shirt featuring Yoda that read “Luck of the Jedi I have.”
But it took a while for Buxton to believe the whole thing wasn’t a joke. “‘Unbelievable!’ is all I could muster,” he told California Lottery officials and members of the media Tuesday.
“I sat in front of the computer for hours in disbelief, frequently checking and rechecking the numbers across multiple sources. Once the initial shock passed I couldn’t sleep for days,” Buxton said.
Once the shock passed, Buxton assembled his team of legal and financial advisers and, before Tuesday, told nobody else that he had won California’s largest-ever Powerball jackpot.
“Sitting on a ticket of this value is very scary,” he said. “It’s amazing how a little slip of paper can change your life.”
The big win will change more lives than just Buxton’s though. He said Tuesday that he plans to use some of his winnings to set up a “charitable foundation focused on areas of pediatric health, child hunger and education.”
He said he’ll also travel, and hopefully, now that the secret is out and Buxton’s plan is set, he can get some sleep.
Buxton chose to take the lump-sum cash option for his prize, which is worth about $242 million before federal taxes.