CLIVE, Iowa (AP) — The winner of a $40 million lottery jackpot said Monday that he initially didn’t believe he had won the big prize from the Lotto America ticket he bought on April Fools Day.
Earl Lape, a 61-year-old retired mechanic from Dubuque, said it was only after confirming his winning ticket with a convenience store clerk that he believed he had won the prize, according to the Iowa Lottery.
“I laughed. I thought it was April Fools,” Earl Lape said after claiming his prize at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. “I thought it was a joke.”
Lape opted to take his winnings in cash, which for the drawing was $21.28 million. The $40 million prize was for those who would have taken their winnings in an annuity, paid over 29 years.
Lotto America is played in 13 states and offers smaller prizes than the games Powerball and Mega Millions but also has much better odds of 1 in 26 million of winning the jackpot.
Lape said he intended to use the money to help his family and will also make donations to benefit children with medical issues.