Facebook Powerball frenzy: Purported winner offers to 'share' $1 million

The second winner of the $588 million PowerBall lottery is not yet known publicly. But one man says he's the winner and will give someone who shares his Facebook photo $1 million. Is it a hoax?

Ross D. Franklin/AP
Karen Bach, director of budget, products and communications of the Arizona Lottery, announces during a news conference Thursday that one of the winning tickets in the $579.9 million Powerball jackpot was purchased in Fountain Hills, Ariz.

His name is Nolan Daniels, and he’s just about to give some random dude or dudette $1 million. Or so he claims.

Purporting to be the second Powerball winner in Wednesday’s $588 million payout, Mr. Daniels posted a Facebook photo late Thursday of himself holding a ticket showing the winning numbers. The photo is the only one visible on Daniels's account, which dates to 2008.

“Looks like I’m not going to work … EVER!!!” the smiling purported winner exclaimed. The numbers on his ticket – 5-23-16-22-29-Powerball 6 – correspond to the winning combination, but the ticket has not been publicly verified.

To make the Facebook announcement that much more bizarre, Daniels vowed to give $1 million of his winnings to a “random” person who “shares” his photo.

That set off a frenzy Friday as thousands of Facebook users got in on the action, with the photo being shared over 1,000 times a minute, with over 100,000 shares as of 3:30 p.m.

On his Facebook page, Daniels chastised skeptics and suggested, “Anyone who doubts the legitimacy of this photo will not be included in the 1 million dollar drawing.”

There were two winners in the drawing. The only winners confirmed so far are Cindy and Mark Hill of Dearborn, Mo., who decided to take a lump sum payment. Lottery authorities have not revealed the name of the other winner, who bought a ticket in Arizona. Earlier on Friday, some guessed that a video of a man celebrating in Maryland might show the winner.

The payout is the second largest in US history after three ticket buyers shared a $656 million jackpot in March. As the amount grew this week, tickets were selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute.

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