A Silicon Valley financial analyst came forward Friday on New York's Long Island to claim a $208 million lottery jackpot, saying he had to repeatedly check his winning ticket before realizing he had won.
"It didn't seem real; you just don't believe it," said Daniel Bruckner of San Jose, Calif.
He and his wife, Christine, had been visiting her family on Long Island over Christmas when he bought the winning ticket while shopping for dinner at a supermarket.
His father-in-law had a printout of the winning numbers, he said, but still he went to the lottery website to check the numbers, then called the lottery hotline to check again.
"No one believes it when you first say it," he said, when they tell friends and relatives about their good fortune. "Because you don't believe it yourself."
At a news conference Friday, the couple declined to say exactly where Bruckner worked. They plan to take a lump-sum payment that will leave them with $101 million after taxes, lottery officials said.
"It's very surreal," Bruckner said. "It's exciting, but very surreal."
The winning Mega Millions numbers were drawn Dec. 27.
Bruckner, 35, said he typically shops at the King Kullen supermarket in Middle Island when he is in town.
"I picked up food for dinner and saw how big the jackpot was so I decided to buy a ticket," he explained.
Bruckner said that he plays the Mega Millions game from time to time but that before winning big in December he had never won more "than a few bucks."
Bruckner, born and raised in California, and his wife, who grew up on Long Island, said they have not decided what to do with their money. They declined to say whether they had children.
The winner has some company in the ranks of lottery winners who already work with money. Last year, a trio of Connecticut money managers split a $254 million Powerball jackpot.