San Diego Woman Hid Winning Mega Millions Ticket Before Claiming $340M Prize - NBC 7 San Diego

San Diego Woman Hid Winning Mega Millions Ticket Before Claiming $340M Prize

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Escondido Woman Wins Half a Billion Dollars

    NBC 7 Reporter Joe Little spoke to deli owners who sold the ticket to a woman who quit her job and moved out of her apartment. (Published Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019)

    A San Diego woman is $340 million richer after cashing in her winning Mega Millions ticket she purchased at a deli near Sorrento Valley.

    Laarni Bibal picked up a Quick Pick ticket at the Sorrento Deli Mart at 10920 Roselle Street on June 7. The next day, she heard a winning ticket had been purchased at her favorite store.

    "My heart started beating really fast," Bibal told the California State Lottery.

    Sure enough, the winning numbers -- 27, 68, 17, 19, 40 and the Mega number 2 -- matched the numbers on her ticket.

    Lottery officials said Bibal's lucky ticket was worth a cool $522 million. She chose the cash option which netted her $340 million before federal taxes are applied.

    Bibal took some time before claiming her winnings, hiding the winning ticket in a secret spot while she waited to claim her prize, she told lottery officials.

    When asked where that secret place was, Bibal said, "I can't tell you. The secret hiding place is still a secret."

    But she now plans to pay off some debt and buy a home with her new fortune.

    NBC 7 tracked Bibal's last known address to an apartment complex in Escondido. The property manager said she bought out the remainder of her lease earlier this summer.

    Adrian Goro’s family has sold lottery tickets at the deli mart for almost 30 years but none of their customers have ever won.

    For selling the winning ticket, they get a $1 million prize.

    "My mom runs upstairs screaming and she’s like, ‘We won the lotto!’ I thought she meant my dad bought a ticket and we won like half-a-billion dollars. I was going out of my mind," Goro said.

    Though a little short of a half a billion dollars, Goro said he and his family still have plenty to be happy about.

    The family plans to use the prize money to invest in their store and open a restaurant next door.

    Mega Millions is one of two national lottery games. It's played in 44 states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

    Mega Millions jackpots start out at $40 million and roll over if there is no jackpot winner. The last jackpot was won in Missouri on March 12, with a $50 million prize.

    The largest jackpot in U.S. history was a $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot won in October 2018 by one player in South Carolina. The second-largest prize for Mega Millions was $656 million for the March 30, 2012, drawing, in which there were three winning tickets.