Florida couple emerge as co-winners of historic $1.6 billion jackpot


A Florida couple came forward Wednesday to claim their share of last month’s world record $1.6 billion lottery jackpot, accepting a giant symbolic check but saying the experience has been “stressful.”

David Kaltschmidt, 55, and Maureen Smith, 70, bought the winning ticket at a supermarket in the city of Melbourne Beach, where they live.

The couple opted to receive a one-time payment of $328 million, before taxes, rather than $528 million divided into annual payments over 30 years.

Smith said the winning numbers are ones they have played for years, although they do not buy lottery tickets regularly.

She said they could not believe they had a winning ticket and checked the numbers over and over.

After the news sank in, the couple kept it to themselves, seeking legal advice and only sharing the news with their family last week.

Smith said they do not know yet how they will spend their newfound riches.

“We are going to take care of family and we have a lot to think about, it’s very stressful, it’s new, we really don’t know,” she told reporters.

Kaltschmidt said the prize has kept them awake at night.

“We lost a lot of sleep and I lost over 10 pounds (4.5 kg), it’s a lot of pacing at night,” he said.

For now, Kaltschmidt said he plans to retire after 34 years as an engineer.

“Instead of designing airplanes, I am going to be doing charities and tax strategies and investments,” he said.

The couple had one of three winning tickets, sharing the record prize with a couple from a tiny town in Tennessee.

The owner of the last ticket, sold at a convenience store in Los Angeles, has not yet come forward.

Chances of winning the Jan. 13 Powerball drawing were 1 in 292.2 million.

The winning numbers were 4, 8, 19, 27 and 34, drawn from five white balls, and 10 as the “Powerball” number on a red ball.