Who Is The Powerball Winner?

On Aug. 24, 2017, Massachusetts resident Mavis Wanczyk, 53, claimed the second largest prize in Powerball history, winning a whopping $758.7 million. According to the Powerball website, that is the "largest jackpot prize won on a single ticket in U.S. lottery history." Wanczyk chose the lump sum payment of $480,500,936, which will come out to $336,350,655 after taxes. Obviously, the question on everyone's mind now is who is this lady—and how can we become best friends with her? Here's what we know about the lucky lotto winner.   

She picked the winning numbers

Wanczyk bought three Powerball tickets in the afternoon on Aug. 23, 2017 at the Pride Station & Store near her workplace in Chicopee, Mass. During her press conference at the Massachusetts Lottery Headquarters, she said two of the tickets were quick picks, meaning the numbers were chosen at random by a computer, while the third—and winning ticket—had numbers that she picked. Some of them were birthdays, others were "basically random," and the Powerball number was her "lucky number" four. "There's a thing between me and my mom and my stepfather, and a friend. We all go out to dinner on a Friday night, and we all play Keno, and our number is four, so I just happened to choose and it worked to my advantage," Wanczyk said.

She may have a strained relationship with her daughter

Wanczyk reportedly has two kids, a 31-year-old daughter and a 26-year-old son. According to the Facebook page of a Chicopee, Mass. woman named Marlee Wanczyk, she is Mavis' daughter. At least, that's the indication, considering people have already begun congratulating her on her mom's big windfall. Marlee's Facebook page also indicates she is a cashier at Dunkin Donuts, graduated from Chicopee High School, and attended Springfield Technical Community College.

In the comments on a post dated Aug. 24, 2017, Marlee apparently wrote, "My mom and I don't even talk to each other. So I am the same poor old me." Another commenter replied, "Its $750million..... Youre [sic] her daughter... she has to help you ... She could literally help every person in this state and still have $ for life lol..." Granted, this is all unconfirmed speculation based on Facebook comments, but if it's true, we hope—for Marlee's sake, at least—that they can mend fences.

She's allegedly not taking her daughter's phone calls

As of a Facebook post dated Aug. 31, 2017, Marlee maintains that she has yet to hear from her mom since her big Powerball win. "I've been trying to get a hold of my mom for a couple of days. Guess what no call or text back. Now I know where I stand with her. I try to reach out and she doesn't want nothing," the post reads.

We should note that there are a few things that could be happening here. 1.) Like the many scam social media accounts that have surfaced, claiming to be Mavis, this could also be a total fake. 2.) Marlee could have a great relationship with her mom, and she's just trolling everyone, which if that is the case, well played. 3.) This is for real, and it's as unfortunate as it is startling that it's playing out in real time on social media. There are no shortage of lottery win horror stories in which families find a whole new reason to fight, thanks to a monetary windfall. Hopefully, this isn't really the case with the Wanczyks.

Her ex-husband died in a car accident

According to Mass Live, Mavis' ex-husband, William Wanczyk, died in a hit-and-run accident in November of 2016. He was reportedly struck and killed by "a speeding pickup truck" that "crashed into the Amherst bus shelter where he was sitting." The driver of the truck, Peter Sheremeta, fled the scene of the accident, but was later caught and charged with DUI and manslaughter. Court records show Mavis and William divorced in 2012.

According to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, William was beloved among his circle of family and friends. Speaking with the newspaper, William's younger brother, Bob Wayne, said, "I guess everybody kind of felt special around Bill because he gave you that time, a one-liner or his chair. He is going to be missed big time. We miss him a lot already."

She's been dreaming of a vacation

Though her Facebook account has seemingly been deleted except for a few photos, Mavis reportedly posted "about a month ago" that she needed a vacation. According to The Guardian, she wrote, "And by 'vacation' I mean I need to move away and find a new job. On a beach. With rum." With well over $300 million now at her disposal—a bank balance that makes her richer than Johnny Depp, Kanye West, and Leonardo DiCaprio, according to TMZ—we're thinking that rum-soaked getaway is going to happen sooner than later.

She worked at Mercy Medical Center

We're using the past tense of "work" here, because Mavis apparently wasted absolutely no time ditching the job she has worked for the past 32 years. During a press conference held the day after the winning drawing, Mavis said she already called her employers at the Mercy Medical Center and told them, "I will not be coming back." She said she worked in patient care and had been thinking about her retirement, "but it came early."

Compared to past major jackpot winners, such as "Greg M." of Colorado, who won a $9.9 million dollar jackpot but stated that he intended to keep his job as a supermarket employee, Mavis' exit from the working class may have set some kind of speed record for big prizewinners. Seriously, can anyone blame her?

She found out she won at work

During her press conference, Mavis said she had just ended a shift at Mercy Medical Center and was walking out with a friend named "Rob," who is a Chicopee firefighter, when they checked the numbers together. To her surprise, she matched them all. After checking the ticket himself, the firefighter told her, "Sign that ticket now." Mavis said she was so excited that she "couldn't drive anywhere or do anything," so "Rob" followed her home to make sure she got there safe. And, you know, to hopefully be remembered at Christmas.  

She hasn't struggled financially

When asked by a reporter if she's had financial problems in the past, Mavis said, "I've been okay. I'm not going to say I'm the richest person in the world. I'm not going to say I'm the poorest person in the world. I make do with what I have." She also gave no indication that she has grand plans for her fortune. Even with her mother and sisters looking on from the sidelines of the press conference, Mavis made no mention of paying off family mortgages or splurging on extravagant vacations. In fact, the only thing she said she was going to do with the cash is pay off a car she bought last year.

She wants to be left alone

Throughout her press conference, Mavis repeatedly stressed her desire to be left alone. When asked about the speed with which she claimed the prize and went public, she said, "I wanted to just get it over and done with, and then everybody would just leave me alone." When asked what her first move is going to be now that she's independently wealthy, she said, "The first thing I want to do is just be me and be alone and be able to do whatever I want." And when asked if she has plans to celebrate her win, she said, "I'm going to go hide in bed." So don't expect to hear a whole lot from Mavis, except maybe if you work for Bacardi. She'd probably love to hear from you.

Police are patrolling her house

Winning nearly a billion dollars comes with a lot of unwanted attention, and Mavis' big win is no exception to this rule. That's why, according to Officer Michael Wilk, a Chicopee police spokesman, there's been an increased police presence around her home. Wilk told The Associated Press (via the Chicago Tribune) that "members of the media and others have descended on the neighborhood." He added, "We're not going to tolerate her being harassed or bothered." The department has even assigned a patrol car to park in her neighborhood at times. "We want her to know we're there if she needs us," he said.

Her ex-boyfriend really missed out

A man claiming to be Mavis' ex-boyfriend has already given an interview to the Daily Mail. Massachusetts resident Richard Lord, 64, said he and Mavis broke up in August of 2016 after she told him, "I'm moving on to a better life." Lord claimed the only reason he never proposed to the woman he dated for 15 years was because he'd previously gone through a divorce and he didn't want to repeat the unpleasant experience. "I was married for 20 years but that ended in one big headache. She got the kids, I used to have a gorgeous house and she got that too," he said, adding, "After the divorce I was left with barely enough to eat. So after all of that I wasn't in any hurry to get married again."

As far as missing out on sharing in Mavis' big lottery win, Lord seems to be taking it well—mostly. "I could have paid off the rest of the house, taken a vacation in Europe, but that's just the way life is sometimes,' he told the Daily Mail. "But I'm happy for her. I certainly don't hold anything against her. I hope she enjoys all that money. She's certainly got a lot of it now." 

Regarding their breakup, Lord said, "I heard rumors she was tied up with some other guy. I heard rumors she was tied up with a woman. But they were just rumors, I didn't take any of it seriously." Hopefully that not-so-subtle shade he just tossed feels every bit as good as a European vacation. 

Scammers are posing as her on social media

The Chicopee Police Department has issued statements warning people not to fall for multiple scam social media accounts claiming to be Mavis. At the time of this writing, The Boston Globe reported that the department has already found "more than a dozen" phony Facebook accounts as well as "at least 13" Twitter accounts that are "using photos of [Mavis], or the giant lottery check she received, claiming to be her."

In a post to the department's Facebook page, Chicopee Police Department spokesman Officer Michael Wilk wrote, "PLEASE do not fall for these scams. DO NOT give out any personal information to these accounts. Do not fall victim to a scammer by releasing ANY of your information." The next day, the department also highlighted what it believed to be a scam Facebook account, and reiterated, "Don't fall for the 'like and share and ill give you cash' post. [These] are bait accounts. You will be lured in, and then when told you have 'won' you will have to give up your personal info, bank info, etc, and you will end up losing money, not gaining. Please, be careful." 

The dubious nature of this kind of post, combined with Mavis' stated desire to be left alone clearly indicates that she's not really holding her own social media sweepstakes.