Someone in Gary got $3.5 million richer this week, but people close to the new lotto winner are keeping quiet.
On Tuesday at the Hoosier Lottery headquarters in Indianapolis, the lawyer for a mystery winner from Gary claimed a multimillion-dollar lotto prize. The winner chose to take the prize as a one-time lump sum of $3.5 million rather than $10.5 million annuity over the next 30 years.
Indianapolis attorney Geff Rainbolt accepted the prize on behalf of limited liability company M Kids LLC. Rainbolt did not return a call for comment, but in a press release sent out by Hoosier Lottery, he called the winner a regular lottery player who wants "to maintain their current lifestyle."
"They are looking forward to retirement and they are looking forward to doing things for their family that they otherwise wouldn't be able to do," Rainbolt said in the release.
Hoosier Lottery spokesman Al Larsen said it's not unheard of for people to keep a lottery win a secret.
"I don't know if I would say 'common,' but it does happen from time to time," he said. "We have a pretty even mix of folks who claim as an individual and who claim as an LLC."
Larsen said there have been six winners in 2012, ranging from $34.5 million to a $1 million annuity. Although the Gary winner opted for the $3.5 million lump sum, the win was for a $10.5 million annuity. The other $10.5 million winner this year was in Highland.
Varinder Singh Nagra owns Nagra's Quik Mart at 4321 E. Dunes Highway in Gary, where the mystery winner bought his or her ticket.
“The lottery guy, they called us on the 18th and said congratulations,” Nagra said.
He said this is the fourth lottery win — and by far the biggest — since he bought the store in 1995.
About five years ago, there were two $250,000 winners, he said. A year before that, someone won $100,000.
Nagra doesn't know who won the $3.5 million, either.
“It's too hard to say,” he said. “I don't know if it's a man or a woman. I don't know who it is.”
Whoever it is, Nagra extended an invite back.
“I want to see him if he can stop in the store and tell the full story,” Nagra said, chuckling.