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Friday, 29 June, 2001, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
$141m lottery winner comes forward
Carmen and Cario Al Castellano
Mr Castellano was accompanied by family members when he claimed his prize
California lottery officials say a winner has come forward to claim a $141m prize, the largest single-state jackpot in US history.

Cario "Al" Castellano of San Jose came to the lottery's San Francisco district office on Thursday with the winning ticket from Saturday's drawing.

He chose to take the money in a lump sum, which means he will receive $70,794,364 within the next six weeks.

Buying lottery tickets
Lottery fever had swept the state
If he had chosen to take the winnings staggered over the next 26 years, their winnings will be worth $141m.

Lottery spokeswoman Norma Minas said Mr Castellano was accompanied by his wife and other family members - one of whom videotaped the exchange - when he turned in his ticket.

"They were nervous," Ms Minas said.

Lottery fever

Mr Castellano is retired from the grocery business, Ms Minas said.

He said he let the lottery machine pick his numbers.

The largest previous single-state lottery prize was $118.8m in 1991, also in California.

California had been gripped by lottery fever in the days running up to the draw, provoking a rush to buy tickets.

Increased jackpot

Last Friday, 84,000 tickets were sold every minute, the Associated Press news agency reported, pushing up the value of the winnings.

In the previous nine draws, no-one had chosen the correct six numbers.

Earlier this month in the US, a 40-year-old man came forward to claim a multi-million-dollar lottery payout that had nearly expired.

Computer technician Melvin B Milligan said he had fished the ticket - worth $23.7m (16.8m) - out of a drawer after hearing news reports about the jackpot.

Later the laid-back winner calmly put the lucky ticket in the post - leaving lottery officials astonished at his faith in the US Postal Service.

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See also:

24 Jun 01 | Americas
Californian sitting on $141m fortune
15 Jun 01 | Americas
Last-minute lottery winner bags $23m
06 May 00 | Americas
Jumbo jackpot swells lottery fever
02 Mar 00 | Africa
SA lottery to bring in 'billions'
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