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McLean Man Wins $107M in VA Lottery After Buying Ticket in Herndon

Brian McCarthy purchased the winning lottery ticket at the Giant grocery store on Elden Street in Herndon in July.

• This story has been updated with videos.

Brian McCarthy's life changed when he decided to stop at the on Elden Street in Herndon when he was stopping to get cash from an ATM.

After getting cash, the 25-year-old McLean resident saw the Virginia Lottery ticket machine next to the ATM and decided to spend a little money on lottery tickets, knowing the jackpot had hit more than $100 million.

The next day he was looking at Facebook on his phone when he saw a headline posted by WTOP that a , he said. Once he saw that the ticket was sold at the same store he purchased one from he got out his wallet to dig for the ticket.

During a press conference on Wednesday, McCarthy said most of his family was away on vacation at the time and he was at home alone with his grandmother. When he told her about his winning ticket she responded with, "That's wonderful. You deserve it," and made him a grilled cheese sandwich, he said. 

Rather than take the jackpot in 26 annual payments, McCarthy chose to take the cash option of $68.4 million. He said he was quiet about the win for three weeks after finding out, and soon left his job with a soft drink company. He said his splurge so far has been purchasing a custom BMW M3, and a golf trip to Ireland.

During the press conference McCarthy donated $25,000 each to two Herndon organizations, including Herndon-Reston FISH and the Herndon Optimist Club. He said, growing up in Herndon, he wanted to give back to the community.

The Giant grocery store that sold the ticket was awarded $50,000 by the Virginia Lottery. The $107 million jackpot is the third largest prize in Virginia Lottery history.

Ruth Tatlock August 10, 2011 at 07:34 PM
Congratulations and best wishes for a happy future. Personally, as a 20+ year volunteer with Herndon-Reston FISH, I'm almost deliriously happy for the gift of $25,000. Great, great, great! THANK YOU !!!
Linda Downer August 10, 2011 at 07:37 PM
So very generous of him to give something back to the community. I, too, hope he finds a good financial advisor. Such a feel good story!!
Garytheprinter August 10, 2011 at 08:48 PM
A financial planner???????????? If I have $68.4 million...Let's see....he is 25 and lives until he is 100 years old...that is $912,000 a year to live on..that's $2,498.63 a day...divided by 12 hours equal $208.22 a minute. There is a good chance I could live without a planer. I have a brain and would have printed cards to mail to all the people that come for money that reads..."You don't have enough money to find me"
The Convict August 10, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Dagnabit. Missed it by one day and three miles. Oh, well, PowerBall is at $220m. Congrats to you, Brian. Don't spend it all in one place!
Private Person August 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM
Congratulations, Mr. McCarthy, and thank you for being such a wonderful citizen. We very much appreciate your gifts and wish you the best!
Barbara Pelzner August 11, 2011 at 11:54 AM
Barbara Pelzner I am delighted that he is so generous with his gifts to Herndon Fish and the Optimist Club. Enjoy the gift.
Chaz Holland August 11, 2011 at 11:56 AM
Glad such a seemingly level headed young guy won. Now the measure will be how many others have a better life because he is so blessed.
Friends of the Reston Regional Library August 11, 2011 at 12:46 PM
Gary, statistically speaking, most big lottery winners, like most big lawsuit award winners, blow through the money in much less time than what you forecast. So a good financial adviser (especially with the tax issues) is a GREAT idea for him. But I'm sure he's getting more than enough advice about what to do with the money. And marriage proposals.
Janet L. Hyman August 11, 2011 at 01:20 PM
Herndon-Reston FISH (Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help) is especially grateful to Brian and to his family that taught him the importance of giving back. His gift will allow us to assist a great many local families so that they can overcome their difficulties and look to a better tomorrow. Visit herndonrestonFISH.org for more information. Our information & referral service responds to 100 calls per day. Janet L. Hyman, President, Herndon-Reston FiSH
Leslie Perales Loges (Editor) August 11, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Brian said he'll be working with a financial advisor to figure things out. He also said he is single and joked that his prospects may have improved.
Conor August 11, 2011 at 03:09 PM
What I'd like to know is where the forfeited $40 Million will be allocated toward...
Matt Genkinger August 11, 2011 at 03:23 PM
I was going to say that if Mr. McCarthy wasn't a Republican prior to his great fortune, he certainly is one now! $40 million is lot to simply hand over, even if it was not earned.
Ruth Tatlock August 11, 2011 at 03:34 PM
I know for a fact that a good many people will benefit from the $25,000 donated to FISH, that is a local, Herndon-Reston, organization where everybody, except the Bargain Loft manager, is an unpaid volunteer
Ruth Tatlock August 11, 2011 at 03:35 PM
There's one in every crowd .....
Jonathan August 11, 2011 at 04:07 PM
Actually, these large sums are usually offered in 2 ways -- as an annuity or in a lump sum. Since you're clearly making a comment about the government "confiscating" his "hard earned money," I'm sure you already KNOW that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. So the total of the "lump sum" is ALWAYS less than the total of the jackpot.
Matt Genkinger August 11, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Jonathan, I didn't notice Conor mentioned any of the words you attributed to him, or me for that matter. But, by what you are describing must a campaign to mislead lottery participants in the Commonwealth. If the jackpot was never worth $107m, or if that $107m is the sum total of the annuity - not the jackpot itself - then perhaps fewer people would enter. I'll keep an eye out for other misleading information provided by our government from here on out!
Conor August 11, 2011 at 06:26 PM
Haha, thanks Matt. And yes, I was merely implying that the government will find a way to waste (I mean spend) the $40 million I'm sure. It is an awful lot of money. It's hard to respond to Jonathan b/c I don't think he understood my comment. I got the annuity/lump sum from the article itself! Yay for reading, you should try it sometime.
Jonathan August 11, 2011 at 07:41 PM
I did read the article. And I've read your insipid comments. You implied that the government was somehow walking away with $40M in this transaction. It is not. The 2 amounts are equivalent. In finance, they call this the "time value of money." This means that instead of $4M a year for 26 years, the smart money takes the lump sum up front. The government isn't taking the difference because there is no difference. 
Matt Genkinger August 11, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Yeah, the government IS walking with $40m! Whether it is taken away all at once or over the course of 26 years, fed/state/local government is forcibly taking someone's wealth (whether earned or not) away from him. Perhaps a cool $40m could be a down payment on a money-pit like the Silver Line. I don't know, maybe the $40m could be divided up equally among each and every Virginian in the form of rebate. We could all go and have a beer in honor of Mr. McCarthy. Either way, it will be wasted, because that is what government does with money. In fact, that $40m is probably already spent! I'm quite confident that FISH and the Optimist Club will spend their donations with much better care than that of government, and that is point of Conor's post.
Conor August 11, 2011 at 08:32 PM
I'm not sure what's insipid about the government wasting money, jonathan. It seems transparently objective (this comes from a bureacrat). I don't even know what you're upset about...anyway, I'm happy for this dude who won and I'm telling ya, if you're gonna win...25 is the age to do it.
Jonathan August 11, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Conor, from your last comment, you seem to think that the government has the full amount of the prize sitting awaiting the winner. It doesn't actually work that way -- the lottery prize is determined by some formula based on the number of entries, and then the amount is calculated after the state takes the amount allotted to eduction and administration of the game. They (the lottery administrators) buy U.S. Treasuries in the amount that will provide the winner with the annuity over the 26 years. It's not like they have a pile of 107 million dollar bills and then they keep $40M. (http://www.valottery.com/faq/kb_detail.asp?id=31) I'm trying to present facts -- you're saying the government is somehow taking this guy's money, when, in actuality, they aren't. Matt's and your statements about how the government is taking this money from him and then wasting it confirm to me that some people, when presented with pesky things like "facts" or "reality" choose, instead, to ignore them and say what they believe is true. You're convinced that any amount that isn't in the actual winnings check is "forcibly" taken from this man, and that is simply false.
Amanda Hamm August 11, 2011 at 11:53 PM
Blah blah blah...I seriously wish people would stop complaining about every story that is posted on here. An average person won the lottery. Is it that fricking difficult for you guys to be happy for someone else? Ridiculous...
Private Person August 12, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Mr. McCarthy is not average anymore (if he ever was); he's now a multi-millionaire and a philanthropist. Now complaining, about complaining of all things, what do we call that?
Matt Genkinger August 12, 2011 at 01:14 AM
I know right! It's like, you can't just say something nice then have someone else want to get all combative. I have no idea what got Jonathan all upset.
SuperG August 12, 2011 at 01:31 AM
Sigh...the payout is annuity. The principal is the $68 million. The total payout over the life of the annuity is $107 million. By taking the lump sum, the government isn't earning interest on the winner's behalf. It's no longer the Lottery's (gov't's in your parlance) money once you win, it's yours, they're just holding it for you earning interest providing a yearly payout. <Insert snarky Social Security remark here> Jonathan is right. Generally it's better, to take the lump sum, because of the "time value of money" also known as inflation. The buying power of a $5 million annuity won in 1991 would only be worth about $3 million this year. Ostensibly you can put the money to better use now, either via better and more diverse investment options than an annuity, or you have some short term purpose for the larger amount. Ultimately, the difference between $68 and $107 million is marketing. $107 million sounds better. If you think the gov't is lying to you in this instance, then so is every advertisement you are exposed or any sales person you talk to. They're trying to make things seem rosier in the hope that you'll buy whatever they're selling. Now, if you want to bitch...this is state tax exempt income, but not Federally. It's gambling winnings. Uncle Sam withholds 38% or so right out of that check, so he's really only taking $42 million home. The $26 million is helping keep your taxes historically low.
Amanda Hamm August 12, 2011 at 01:44 AM
Exactly. I guess it's in some people's nature to see the dark side of everything. Someone has a lucky break and instead of congratulating them on it, people have to start arguing over this thing or that.
Beth, thehoneymoonlady August 14, 2011 at 04:50 PM
It was nice of this young man to give to these local charities. I hope he continues to be this level headed, as this is a lot of money for any age person to receive in one lump sum. The one common factor of all lottery winners that I have read about is that everyone buys a new vehicle and they book a nice trip.
Audrey Q. September 09, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Good for Brian! Love the cheese sandwich addendum.
Meg September 09, 2011 at 07:52 PM
For all of you, FYI, Mr. McCarthy was NEVER an "average person" as Amanda said. He's the son of millionaire hotel mogul, Robert McCarthy (president of Marriott International). While he won fair and square (and I am not insinuating otherwise), it is just daily reminder that life is in no way, shape, or form even remotely fair!!
Ben Glass September 10, 2011 at 09:16 PM
But life, especially here in America...is abundantly fair. Everyone had the same opportunity to buy..

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