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24-year-old Wisconsin man Manuel Franco wins $768M Powerball jackpot

By Tamar Lapin

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Manuel Franco. * AP photo

(NEW YORK POST) — A 24-year-old Wisconsin man came forward Tuesday to claim the $768 million Powerball jackpot — finally ending weeks of feeling “paranoid” someone would snatch his golden ticket.

After Manuel Franco realized he was the winner of the March 27 drawing, he immediately put his ticket in a safe.

“I got that paranoia when you think the whole world is after you,” Franco told reporters. “I thought there was somebody behind me every single day.”

“It’s hard living your life when you have the ticket everybody wants.”

The West Allis resident said he was sifting through $10 worth of quick pick tickets and thought he’d checked through all of them — when he saw one stub stuck to another one.

When he realized the numbers on that nearly forgotten ticket matched, he went “insane.”

“My heart started racing, my blood started pumping, I felt warm,” he recalled. “I started screaming.”

The winner of the third-largest lottery jackpot in US history refused to reveal too much about himself at his Wisconsin Lottery news conference. Under Wisconsin law, lottery winners can’t remain anonymous.

Franco wouldn’t say what he does for a living — though he admitted he quit his job the second day after winning.

He’ll be taking the lump sum payment of $477 million — and fully expects that people will soon come hounding him for money.

“I’m ready and I know how to say no,” he said.

Still, he maintained he’ll give some of the cash to charity.

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