Mega Millions $1.5B Win in 2018 Sees Another Scandal Emerge

Posted on: March 15, 2021, 09:35h. 

Last updated on: March 15, 2021, 11:47h.

A $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot won in 2018 is linked to yet another legal dispute.  

Mega Millions South Carolina lottery
Jayanti Patel owns the South Carolina convenience store where a more than $1.5 billion Mega Millions winning jackpot ticket was sold. State officials allege that he hasn’t been paying his fair share of taxes. (Image: Greenville County Detention Center/Reuters/

A South Carolina woman who opted to remain anonymous won $1.537 billion during a Mega Millions draw in October of 2018. She claimed the record-setting prize the following March after meeting with an attorney for advice. 

In August of last year, federal authorities brought charges against that attorney — Jason Kurland — the so-called “Lottery Lawyer.” He claimed he assisted the anonymous Mega Millions winner on how to best proceed with her newfound fortune. The feds say he instead ripped her off to the tune of $70 million. 

Now, a second person related to the largest single jackpot win in US history is facing charges.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue has announced the arrest of Jayanti Patel, 49, of Simpsonville, SC. Patel is the owner of the KC Mart convenience store where the $1.5 billion Mega Millions ticket was sold. For selling the winning ticket, the KC Mart was awarded a $50,000 commission. 

“It’s exciting. Good for me, good for him, her, whoever it is,” Patel said at the time. 

Patel said he planned to use part of the money to do good in the community. But law enforcement says Patel didn’t live up to his pledge and instead skipped out on paying his taxes. 

Convenience Store Taxes

Patel has been charged with five counts of tax evasion. The state’s revenue department alleges that Patel’s business, KCP, Inc., failed to report more than $2 million in sales. That reduced his tax liability by $123,044. 

He’s facing up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Patel is being held at the Greenville County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing. 

Patel’s KC Mart was swarmed after its selling of the $1.5 billion Mega Million jackpot win. Lottery players are often superstitious and flocked to the convenience store in the belief that it was a lucky lottery retailer. 

The KC Mart continues to display a banner outside the store that reads, “We Sold a Mega Millions Ticket Worth $1.5 Billion.”

Lucky Winner Finds Misfortune

The South Carolina woman opted for the one-time lump sum payment of $877.78 million. After an effective federal tax of 37 percent and seven percent state tax, the net payout was approximately $491.6 million. 

But the feds allege that the anonymous individual received $70 million less than she was due because of her hiring of that “Lottery Lawyer.” The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York says Kurland, along with three coconspirators, swindled more than $70 million from her final payout.

“Lottery winners can’t believe their luck when they win millions of dollars, and the men we arrested … allegedly used that euphoric feeling to their advantage,” said at the time FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney. “The FBI New York discovered how these victims were persuaded to put large chunks of their cash into investments that benefited the defendants.”

The cases against Kurland and the three others are ongoing.