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24-year-old Wisconsin man Manuel Franco is winner of $768 million Powerball jackpot: ‘It feels like a dream’

The winning ticket was sold in March at a Speedway in New Berlin, Wisconsin.

Wisconsin man wins $768M Powerball jackpot

Wisconsin resident Manuel Franco is the winner of last month’s $768.4 million Powerball jackpot — the third-largest lottery amount in U.S. history.

“It feels like a dream,” Franco, 24, said at a press conference Tuesday.

“It was amazing, my heart started racing, blood pumping,” he said. “I screamed for about 5 or 10 minutes.”

“My dad cried lot,” he added.

The winning ticket was sold on March 27 at a Speedway in New Berlin, about 15 miles west of Milwaukee.

“I walked into the Speedway and I purchased $10 worth of individual Powerball tickets,” Franco said. “I honestly felt so lucky that I did look up at the camera and I wanted to wink at it cause I just had that lucky feeling.”

He went to work the day after he won but was anxious and sweating. He said he never showed up to work again after that day.

Before the big win, Franco said his biggest concern was getting his bank account up to $1,000.

Franco, who was born in Milwaukee, has been playing Powerball since he turned 18. He said he bought his first ticket on his 18th birthday.

The jackpot has a lump sum cash value of $477 million, according to Powerball.

Franco said he is accepting the lump sum. He will receive just over $326 million after taxes, said lottery officials.

“I’m sure you’ll never see me as like one of the people who went bankrupt or broke or anything like that. I plan to live my life normal as much as possible,” he said.

Franco said he doesn’t know what his future holds but that he wants to “help out the world.”

The winning ticket was sold in March at a Speedway in New Berlin, Wisconsin.

Scammers pose as West Allis Lotto winner to steal money

It’s been over a month since a West Allis man came forward to claim the largest Wisconsin Lottery jackpot in history but the scammers are trying to use his likeness to take advantage of those in need.

Manuel Franco was the sole winner of the $768 million Powerball Jackpot sold on March 27 . Searches for Franco’s social media presence turned up empty but now, more are popping up. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages, looking like very realistic portrayals of the lucky West Allis man.

“I sought him out,” Bobbie France of Fond du Lac said. “I figured, well what’s the most that could happen?”

France found a Facebook page claiming to be Manuel Franco’s personal blog fan page. It had over 700 likes and several posts from around the country about his winnings. She figured it would be worth a shot to tell him her story.

“I explained to him, I have a very serious disease that’s slowly killing me,” France said. “I asked, maybe he could help me with one dream I had. I wanted to do take my family to Disney World.”

France struggles to speak as a result of her disease. She has a tracheostomy tube in her neck and says she spends hundreds each month for medications and equipment to keep her alive. She fears she doesn’t have much time left and wanted to see her grandson’s first ever trip to Disney.

She says the impostor Franco told her he’d give her $100,000. France was floored.

“I was trying to figure out who I would donate money to,” France said. “This was a big hope.”

However, France’s skepticism popped up soon after. She says a manager from FedEx reached out to her about sending $100 to them to secure the delivery of such a large sum of money. She reached back out to Franco.

“I explained to him, because I’m on disability, that $100 that I was about to send usually goes for my prescriptions and medical equipment that cost quite a bit a month,” France said. “I didn’t get any responses back.”

Sitting in her home with her two cats, she cried. What could be her final wish was dashed by an impostor.

“It’s absolutely disgusting,” France said. “It’s horrible. You have to be just about the lowest on earth to try and hurt other people like that. Whoever is doing this needs to be punished. For people like me that really do need the help, that’s just so wrong.”

Manuel Franco’s attorney, Andrew Stoltmann told TODAY’S TMJ4, “Manuel has nothing out there asking people to contact him for help. All of these are fake, fraudulent and done by criminals.”

While the damage could have been worse for France, she’s been crushed knowing this was her last ditch effort to do something nice for her family before her condition takes her life.

“I can only imagine the wonder in my grandson’s eyes,” France said. “It breaks my heart that I can never do that.”

Stoltmann says if someone claiming to be Manuel Franco offers money online, it is fake and should be reported to the FBI.

Scammers pose as West Allis Lotto winner to steal money It’s been over a month since a West Allis man came forward to claim the largest Wisconsin Lottery jackpot in history but the scammers are ]]>