Lottery officials introduced the winners of Washington's largest jackpot Tuesday, after a day of confusion involving a false televised claim and the arrest of the purported winner on separate fraud charges.
Pat and Dick Warren, a retired couple from Hoquiam, claimed the prize once lottery officials confirmed that they held the one winning ticket.
They claimed the first installment on their winnings Tuesday at the lottery office in Olympia -- a check for $2.6 million.
"We're just beside ourselves," they said during a news conference.
The say they were confused through the weekend by news reports of someone else claiming to have the ticket. That turned out to be a scam.
Dick Warren says he bought the ticket because he once won $150 on the game and thought he put that money back.
The couple says they'll take a lump sum, which will be about $34 million dollars after taxes.
Pat Warren says they may buy a new home. Dick Warren says they'll continue to support the food bank in Hoquiam, which they have supported for years.
They also say they'll get an unlisted phone number.
The Warrens bought the winning ticket at Swansons food store in Hoquiam. It gets $25,000 for selling the winning ticket.
Man Falsely Claims He's The Winner
Meanwhile, the person who claimed on television to be the winner was being held in the Pierce County Jail on fraud and other charges, the Pierce County sheriff's office reported.
A person claiming to be Hillary Walls, 27, of Lakewood, called the TV station Monday, describing herself as the winner.
The "Lakewood person" - presumably Walls - called the lottery, claiming they had the winning ticket and seeking directions to the lottery's headquarters, Lottery spokesman Eric Jones said. But no formal claim was ever made, and no ticket was ever presented.
"We had no way of validating that," Jones said.
Pierce County Sheriff's Office detectives who watched the television broadcast recognized the person as a suspect in a series of crimes.
Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said the person is actually a man who dresses as a woman. Detectives caught up with him Tuesday as he was shopping for a new car, he said.
The suspect has "written bad checks, forgery, fraud, theft, you name it," Troyer said. He said the charges were unrelated to the Mega Millions winning ticket.
Troyer described the suspect is a con artist with a record of forgeries and thefts, including a scam in which he pretended to be a landlord and collected rent.
Mike Flatley, the suspect's former landlord, said he lost $6,000 in the rent scam.
"She informed the tenants that she was the new owner of the apartment building and proceeded to collect rent from the tenants," Flately said. "I wish I'd get my money."
The person identified as Walls told the Seattle television station that she planned to claim the prize Tuesday at a state Lottery office and preferred a lump-sum payment, which would be half the jackpot or about $34 million after taxes.
The person, described as a single, childless and unemployed woman, told the station she already started shopping for a Hummer and a Harley Davidson motorcycle and planned to give some money to charities that helped her during hard times.
The ticket for Friday's drawing was sold in Grays Harbor County. It's the largest lottery jackpot ever in Washington and the first Mega Millions winner for the state since it joined the 10-state game in September.