24-year-old West Allis man comes forward as $768M Powerball winner

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A 24-year-old West Allis man has claimed the third-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.

Manuel Franco came forward Tuesday.

“I simply just can’t believe an ordinary guy like me could win the Powerball,” he said.

He was accompanied by Wisconsin Lottery officials at a press conference in Madison.

Franco said he purchased $10 worth of tickets last month at the Speedway gas station in New Berlin.

He said he bought the tickets after getting off of work.

“I pretty much felt lucky,” he said.

Franco said he didn’t watch the Powerball drawing and went to work the next day without checking his tickets.

It wasn’t until after work that he heard the winning ticket was sold in New Berlin.

That’s when he said he checked his lottery tickets.

“I had all the tickets in my left hand and swapped them to the right. As I change hands, I see that last ticket. I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God, no way!’ I looked at it one number at a time. I knew it was something special. My heart starts to pump, ‘No freakin’ way, it matched!’ At this moment, I was going insane. It was amazing, my heart racing. I screamed for 5 or 10 minutes,” he said.

Franco will take home the lump sum of $477 million.

“It’s amazing. It feels like a dream. It feels like any moment, I’m going to wake up,” Franco said.

He was born in Milwaukee, but did not want to say where he went to high school or where he works.

Franco said he’s played Powerball since he turned 18.

He said he’s spent the last month since winning setting up lawyers and a financial team.

Franco said he plans to live as normal of a life as possible.

Wisconsin will receive $38 million of the winnings as tax revenue.

Chris Watkins

Chris Watkins

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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