On This Date: Donald Lawson Claims Record $337 Million Powerball Jackpot from Michigan Lottery

Donald Lawson smiles with an image of his winning ticket.

Donald Lawson smiles with an image of his winning ticket.

The Michigan Lottery’s biggest winner collected a huge Powerball jackpot five years ago today. On Aug. 31, 2012, Donald Lawson, of Lapeer, set a Michigan Lottery record when he claimed a $337 million Powerball jackpot.

Lawson matched the Powerball numbers drawn Aug. 15, 2012 – 06-27-46-51-56 and the Powerball, 21 – to win the $337 million jackpot. He bought his winning ticket at the Sunoco gas station, located at 1489 North Main Street in Lapeer. The station received a $50,000 bonus commission for selling Lawson the winning ticket.

Lawson learned of his good fortune on Aug. 16, 2012 after his daughter told him the winning ticket from the previous night’s drawing was bought in Lapeer. Working backward and matching the Powerball first, he checked his numbers and realized that he had a big winner.

“I called my sister and told her to quit her job and come home,” said Lawson. “She laughed and said: ‘Did you win the Lottery?’ and I said: ‘Yes!’”

Lawson then decided to have some fun with his mother.

“I called my mom and told her I won $200,000 in the Lottery and she didn’t believe me,” said Lawson. “Finally I said: ‘Okay. I’ll tell you the truth. I won $337 million!’”

During a 2012 news conference, Lawson said he “couldn’t breathe” and had to “look twice at the ticket” before believing he was the big winner. Lawson picked his own numbers, but they were not numbers that he consistently plays. He said he was “guided from above” when filling out his play slip.

Lawson chose to receive his winnings as one-time lump sum cash payment of about $224.6 million, rather than an annuity.

Lawson’s $337 million Powerball jackpot holds the record as the largest Lottery prize ever won in Michigan. The last Michigan player to win the Powerball jackpot was Julie Leach, of Three Rivers. Leach won the game’s $310.5 million jackpot on Sept. 30, 2015.

Powerball plays may be purchased for $2 each at Lottery retailers across the state and online at MichiganLottery.com. A “Power Play” option that multiplies non-jackpot prizes by up to 10 times to a maximum of $2 million may be added to any Powerball play for only $1.

The Powerball drawing takes place at 10:59 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday and may be watched live online at: http://www.powerballlive.com/powerball. Powerball tickets are sold in 44 states, Washington D.C., U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

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