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2 Mass. residents claim Mega Millions prizes

Though Massachusetts did not get a piece of the $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, five state residents bought winning tickets worth $250,000 each and have begun to claim their prizes.

Robert Yu, 34, of Somerville was the first to come forward. The chemist opted for a lump sum payment of $175,000 after taxes and told lottery officials that he plans to use the money to pay off his student loans and make a down payment on a house.

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Yu bought his ticket at the Tedeschi store on Washington Street in Somerville, and it will receive a $2,500 commission on the sale. Yu could not be reached Monday.

Spurred by dreams of the jackpot windfall, Kaleigh Rankin, 22, played the lottery for the first time Friday. The Dracut resident bought a ticket at a 7-Eleven in Lowell and, like Yu, was just one number short of sharing in the jackpot.

Lottery officials said Rankin also opted for the lump sum payment and said she plans to buy a car and go back to school.

The other $250,000 tickets, which match the five winning numbers but not the Mega Ball, were sold at Tayeh Convenience in East Bridgewater; West Street Mobil in Reading; and Handy Variety in Watertown, lottery officials said.

Glen Robbins, manager of Tayeh Convenience, said he does not know which customer bought the winning numbers, but is glad that the person came in to buy the ticket.

“There’s always a chance that someone will win it; it’s a matter of hitting the right numbers,’’ he said.

The odds of matching the five numbers on a Mega Millions ticket are 1 in almost 4 million, according to the state Lottery Commission. The winning numbers were 2-4-23-38-46, and the Mega Ball was 23.

Three jackpot-winning tickets were sold in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland. The $640 million jackpot, which is the largest in lottery history, officials said, will be split among the winners.

The jackpot was record-breaking in part because 18 consecutive drawings produced no jackpot winner.

Lottery officials said Massachusetts retailers were selling $22,000 worth of tickets per minute during peak hours before the drawing. Friday sales also broke the record for the Mega Millions single-day sales, totaling $13.2 million.

Over the last 19 drawings, 39 million Mega Millions tickets were sold in Massachusetts worth $7.7 million in prizes. The ticket sales brought in about $16.4 million in net profit, which will go into the state’s General Fund and will be distributed to Massachusetts cities and towns.

Paul Sternburg, executive director of the Massachusetts Lottery, said the mania over the historic Mega Millions jackpot brought in new players, as well as veteran customers.

The next Mega Millions drawing will be Tuesday for a jackpot of $12 million.

Alli Knothe can be reached at aknothe@globe.com.
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