$21 million Lotto jackpot dazes winner in Lothian

August 13, 1991|By Sandy Banisky

Television lights glared. Cameras flashed. Reporters called out exceedingly personal questions.

At the center of it all was a pleasantly dazed David K. Moreland -- 33, single, of Lothian, a senior contract specialist at Martin Marietta who describes his income as "middle-class, just average" -- enduring his first public appearance as the winner of Saturday's $21 million Lotto jackpot. He is the largest single winner in the eight-year history of the Maryland game.

No, Mr. Moreland said, he hasn't decided what to do with the money -- except that he intends to share it with his family. "A major lifestyle decision like this requires a little thought."

Yes, he said, he intends to keep to his routine -- at least for the near future. "I will probably go in to work."

No, he said, he doesn't play the horses. "Maybe bingo a couple of times."

Yes, he'll continue to play Lotto. "I can afford it."

And then, still cooperatively holding the mock check that lottery officials had given him, Mr. Moreland politely asked the photographers if he could put the symbol of his new fortune down: "Are you done with the check? Because it's a big check and it's a little bit heavy."

The real checks, when they begin to arrive at his Anne Arundel County home, won't be lightweights: a total of $21,077,615.60 in 20 yearly installments of about $1,050,000 before taxes, about $764,150 a year after you deduct 27.5 percent in state and federal taxes, according to lottery officials.

Mr. Moreland, sandy-haired with a neatly trimmed beard, won with a subscription ticket whose numbers were randomly assigned by computer. He's held a subscription since April 1985, when his sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Michael Beckham, of Harwood, bought it as a gift. He's renewed it every year since.

One week, he won $5.

He looked forward to checking the ticket each week. "I don't have a lot of vices, if you will."

Only 1 percent of the 15.6 million lotto tickets sold in Maryland last week were subscriptions. Lottery officials spent the day checking with other states and say they believe Mr. Moreland's $21 million prize makes him the largest single Lotto subscription winner in the country.

His sister says Mr. Moreland will spend wisely. "He's a very levelheaded, intelligent guy," his sister said. He doesn't have lavish tastes. He likes gardening.

It was before 9 yesterday morning that William F. Rochford, director of the Maryland State Lottery Agency, called Mr. Moreland at the home he shares with his parents, Elgin and Marjorie, and asked him to sit down.

"But I told him I already knew," said Mr. Moreland, who'd passed a tense weekend just waiting for the Maryland State Lottery Agency's office to open.

He'd known since midnight Saturday, when he checked the numbers he'd jotted down off the television against the six numbers assigned to him by a computer.

He checked and checked again, then told his parents, then called and awoke his sister and brother-in-law, who dressed and drove over.

Mr. Moreland, who appeared composed yesterday, said he didn't sleep Saturday night. The family sat and talked. They did not discuss buying waterfront homes or Porsches, Mrs. Beckham said. They were awash in "disbelief," she recalled.

"We were still in the shock stage at that point," she said. "We've led a pretty quiet lifestyle up 'til now."

Sunday, they tried to distract themselves. "We just stayed around the house, rented a couple of movies," Mrs. Beckham said. Monday morning, Mr. Moreland called the office to say he wouldn't be in. He did not explain why.

Top single winners of Lotto jackpots

State.. .. .. Amount.. .. .. .. .. Date

Florida .. .. $55,600,000 .. .. .. 9/88

California .. 44,400,000 .. .. .. 12/5/90

Illinois.. .. 42,000,000 .. .. .. 8/26/89

Lotto America 35,000,000 .. .. .. 7/14/90

New York.. .. 35,000,000 .. .. .. 1/90

Maryland.. .. 21,000,000 .. .. .. 8/10/91

Source: 1991 Compendium of Lottery Statistics

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