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16 co-workers at Manhattan biotech company split $58,000,000 Mega Millions jackpot
Sixteen co-workers in the Manhattan office of biopharmaceutical company Ophthotech pooled their money last month for a shot at the $58,000,000 Mega Millions jackpot drawn on March 24 and walked away multi-millionaires.

The winners calling themselves the "Lucky 16 Trust" is comprised of New York Lottery players from Accord (Ulster County); the Bronx; Brooklyn; Queens; and Manhattan as well as eight New Jersey residents and another who shuttles between New York and her home in California.

Group spokeswoman and company COO Evelyn Harrison said the Lucky 16 represent senior executives, administrative staff "and everyone in between."

The lucky colleagues have been playing together since 2010 with a brief hiatus last year during the company's reorganization. Harrison said individual office pool members contribute $4 weekly toward the purchase of multi-state game tickets.

"We rotate who buys the tickets and the stores where we buy to be fair to everyone," Harrison said. "We also require the buyer to send copies of the ticket to everyone in the group so we all have it."

The group, she said, is not nearly as organized when it comes to checking the winning numbers.

"There was a lot of buzz around the office following the drawing as everyone learned the jackpot winner was sold in our building," she laughed. "A few of us decided we should probably check our numbers and we went from one person's computer to another's checking each person's scan of the ticket because we wanted to be absolutely sure. Once we were convinced, we sent an email to everyone else to tell them to check out the winning numbers for themselves."

Matthew Jung, one of the Lucky 16 who accompanied Harrison to claim the ticket, said members of the group later huddled in a conference room to let the news sink in and to do some jumping around.

"There was a lot of energy in that room. We told ourselves to focus on work like nothing had happened. But, something DID happen, and, to be honest, we didn't accomplish a lot that day. It's been a very intense ride," he said.

The beneficiaries of the Lucky 16 Trust will split a one-time cash payment of $38,334,435 (net $25,369,729). Each winner will receive a 6.25 percent share of the prize which amounts to more than $1.65 million.

The group's plans for the money range from paying off school loans and mortgages to investing for retirement.

Harrison said the group has pledged to watch out for one another. "We're a small group. We ground each other. We won't let anyone get carried away.”

The jackpot-winning ticket was purchased at Carlton Cards at One Penn Plaza in Manhattan.
Detroit Man Wins $1 Million Mega Millions Prize
A Detroit man is on the fast track to retirement after winning $1 million playing the Michigan Lottery's Mega Millions game.

Fred Morgan matched the first five winning numbers drawn on April 17 to win the big prize. He bought his winning ticket at the Mobil gas station, located at 25828 Ford Road in Dearborn Heights.

"I checked my ticket the day after the drawing and it wouldn't scan in the self-scanner," said Morgan. "I asked the clerk to check it for me and he said: 'It looks like you've got something here, you'd better sign it.'

"I left thinking I'd won $10,000 and called my wife on my way home to share the good news. I looked at the prize table when I got home and I was speechless."

Morgan was in shock and couldn't believe he was a millionaire.

"I felt full all over and couldn't eat or sleep for three days," he said.

Morgan and his wife hid the winning ticket in various spots around their home, including in a container of flour, while they put together a financial plan before claiming the prize.

"We watched that ticket carefully," said Morgan. "We thought somebody may look in the sugar jar, but no one would ever check for anything valuable in the flour."

A letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for 31 years, Morgan's big win has accelerated his retirement plans.

"I started cleaning out my locker at work and my boss asked me what was going on," said Morgan. "I told him 'I got a million and I'm retiring!'

"At first, he and my co-workers thought I was joking, but they couldn't be happier about my good fortune."

After retirement, Morgan and his wife plan to travel and enjoy life.

"I can't even really put into words how this feels, but I do know I feel relieved and excited!"
Largest Prize in Illinois Lottery History is claimed! Naperville Man Wins $265million Mega Millions Jackpot
Naperville resident Jesus Davila Jr. became the winner of the largest prize in Illinois Lottery history when the first line of numbers on his $5 Quick Pick ticket matched all six numbers (26 - 32 - 44 - 45 - 58 - MB 11) to win the jackpot in the Friday, January 16 Mega Millions drawing. That day, he was the only person, among the millions who bought tickets in 44 states, Washington DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to match all six numbers.

Today Illinois Lottery officials presented Davila a $265 million oversized check at the James R Thompson Center in Chicago to commemorate his history-making win.

"I've been lucky enough to meet the two largest lottery winners in the proud history of the Illinois Lottery: the $218 million winner in March 2012 from Red Bud Illinois, and now Mr. Davila from nearby Naperville. His experience, as was the case in beautiful Red Bud, proves that anything's possible," said Lottery Director Michael Jones.

Davila was at home the evening of January 16 and, as he watched the televised Mega Millions drawing, he wrote the winning numbers on a piece of paper. When he compared them to the numbers on his ticket, he thought he had matched the first five numbers to win $1million. He showed the ticket to his son who double-checked it and immediately realized that his father's ticket had actually matched all six numbers to win the jackpot! "My son said, 'You have every number here, Dad' and then we started shouting, 'We're millionaires! We're millionaires!' and we couldn't stop giggling and laughing!" Davila said.

After spending a couple weeks consulting with family members and professional financial advisors, Davila was ready to come forward and claim his prize. He was calm and quiet as he removed the folded $265 million winning ticket from the front pocket of his jeans, smoothed out the creases, and presented it to staff at the Illinois Lottery Prize Center in Des Plaines two weeks ago.

Davila, 70, is a retired, professional driver. Originally from Puerto Rico, he came to the United States when he was only six years old and lived in Chicago until five years ago when he moved to Naperville to be closer to family. He has three sons, one daughter, and four grandchildren. He plans to share the windfall with his family, invest, and donate to his favorite charities. "I would also like to buy a big house with a really big lawn… and a riding lawn mower!"

Davila opted to take his prize as a one-time payment of $178,091,398. After the required withholding (25 percent federal, 3.75 percent state), Davila will receive a payment of $126,890,121. The Glendale Heights store that sold the $265 million winning Mega Millions ticket is Bucky's Express, 1202 Bloomingdale Road. The retailer received a $500,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. "It's worth noting that during the run up to this enormous Mega Millions prize, tickets sales generated more than $10 million for the state's Common School Fund," said Jones.
The New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega today presented a Mega-sized ceremonial prize check to Harold Diamond, 80, of Wurtsboro, Sullivan County. The retired Elementary School Principal was the sole winner of a $326 million Mega Millions jackpot drawn on November 4, 2014. Vega introduced the soft-spoken winner at the Valero on Route 302 in Middletown where he purchased his life-changing ticket.

"My wife and I were driving to Middletown for dinner after voting on Election Day but the weather made us rethink our plans," said the 39-year veteran of the Monticello School District who served as Principal at George L. Cook Elementary in Monticello before retiring in 1995. "My wife insisted we stop here to eat and wait for the weather to clear, and I reluctantly agreed."

Diamond noticed the Mega Millions jackpot flashing on the Lottery terminal as he ate at the Subway shop located within the Valero and decided to spend $10 for 10 sets of Quick Pick numbers for that evening's drawing.

"I put the ticket in my wallet and forgot about it," he said matter-of-factly. "I went to play golf the next day and the guys in the clubhouse were talking about the jackpot-winning ticket someone bought at a Valero on Route 302 and I thought, wait a minute - I bought a ticket there last night!"

Diamond said he dashed home to catch the winning numbers on the evening news and saw the six numbers drawn matched the second set of Quick Pick numbers printed on his ticket making him the sole winner of the largest jackpot ever claimed in New York.

"I was in a dither; a real daze," he recalled.

Diamond said he owes his new fortune to his wife Carol, a 36-year veteran of the Goshen school district where she taught math at Goshen High School before retiring in 1994.

"I have to thank her with both barrels because if it weren't for her insistence, we would not be here today," he said.

Diamond said he has been working with a financial advisor to plan for what comes next, but concedes it’s an awesome task.

"I simply can't envision that kind of money," he laughed, shaking his head. "It's very hard to fathom. We feel very blessed."

Diamond opted to take the cash value of the annuitized prize, earning him a single lump sum payment totaling $197,456,087. His net check will total $130,676,438 after required withholdings. Preliminary plans for the money include helping family and "giving back to the local community."
West Virginia Lottery Director John Musgrave introduced the "Fabulous Five," a group of five co-workers from the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, as the state's latest winners of a $1 million Mega Millions prize at a press conference in Charleston, Wednesday.

The group, which was playing the lottery as an office pool for the first time, consists of Brenda Rader of South Charleston, Carla Curry of Marmet, Jordan Williams of Shrewsbury, Deborah Rutherford of St. Albans, and Carolyn Charnock of Charleston.

"What a wonderful way to start off 2015. We could not be happier for these ladies," Musgrave said. "Calendar year 2014 was a record setting year for West Virginia Lottery players with an incredible 13 tickets valued at $1 million or more sold in our state and hopefully this is an indication that 2015 will be memorable as well."

Rader purchased their lucky ticket, which matched five numbers from the January 9, 2015 Mega Millions drawing, at One Stop #101 in South Charleston. Had they paid an extra $1 for the Megaplier option, their prize of $1 million would have increased to $5 million, because the Megaplier number for Friday was 5x. One Stop will receive a sales bonus of $10,000 for selling the ticket. Ironically, she purchased the winning ticket at exactly 1:01 p.m. on Wednesday.

"I am just glad that I played and that we won," Rader said. "When the jackpot gets high I usually play twice a week, but this was the first time that we ever purchased lottery tickets as an office pool. We were just happy to win something."

The group of co-workers each contributed $5 for a total purchase of 25 tickets.

Williams, a December graduate of WVU-Tech, made her first student loan payment on the same day she gave Rader her $5 for the tickets. "I will not be making any more loan payments or paying another day of interest now, that's for sure," Williams said.

Curry said that she had played the lottery off and on, but had never won anything of note. "You always wonder if it is for real and now I know that it is!" Rutherford added, "Anyone can win. It is just amazing!"
Million Dollar Lottery Win is Just the Icing on the Cake of Life for Latest Mega Millions Winner
Some people embrace life for all the sweet goodness each moment has to offer so winning the lottery is just the icing on the cake. That is certainly the case for our latest million dollar Mega Millions winner John Manganiotis from Saddle Brook. Mr. Manganiotis is a family man who has been working with his son Johnny to help him build a business, Mr. Cupcakes. In their spare time, their efforts are philanthropic in support of two charities, the Children's Specialized Hospital and Let Them Be Little X2. The Let Them Be Little organization assists children affected by a rare genetic disease commonly known as MPSIIor Hunter Syndrome. Manganiotis has pledged that a portion of his win from the Mega Millions draw on Tuesday, November 4, will go to these good causes.

Carole Hedinger, Executive Director of the New Jersey Lottery met with John and Johnny to congratulate them. She said, "Life is all about timing." The men couldn't agree more. As it turns out, the two were together, unexpectedly. Johnny was running an errand and his Dad came along for the ride. After sitting in the car for a while, John spotted the Richfield Liquor Store, 1362 Clifton Ave., Clifton, and decided to go into the store to buy a few lottery tickets. The two board Mega Millions ticket he purchased netted the big win from this lucky retailer.

The discovery of the win was just as unexpected. Wednesday evening, Johnny was on Facebook and read a news article stating that the winning ticket was sold at the store where his Dad bought his ticket. The rest, as they say, is history. Manganiotis said, "I wasn't supposed to be with my son that day, but I ended up going with him. My son tried to have his watch fixed a few days before but was asked to come back." He was just at the right place at the right time and "all of the stars aligned."
Kansas Woman Claims $1 Million Mega Millions Prize
A jackpot sign prompted a Kansas Woman to buy a Missouri Lottery ticket before leaving the state. Lisa Metz of Hutchison, Kan., said she saw the Mega Millions jackpot was large and told her husband to stop. That resulted in a $1 million prize.

"I saw the billboards with the amounts, and I said, 'Hey, let's stop at the QuikTrip before we get on 435, and we can get one in Missouri, and we'll get one later in Kansas,'" recalled Metz.

She bought four Quick Pick Mega Millions tickets at QuikTrip, 1951 Prairie View Road in Platte City, and matched all five white-ball numbers on the third ticket. The winning numbers for the Oct. 14 Mega Millions drawing were: 11, 37, 46, 64 and 68.

Metz, 48, is an insurance agent. Her family moves every few years due to her husband's job. They were visiting some friends still in the state from when they lived in the area and had good things to say about Kansas City.

"We lived up in this area for four years and just absolutely fell in love with the Kansas City area," she said.

Plans for the windfall were not extravagant. Metz said she wanted a "smart phone," and her husband, Monte, asked for a new pair of shoes.

"We're going to become debt free, first and foremost," she said. "We're going to keep the same cars we're driving and pay off the mortgage."

Ironically, she forgot to stop for tickets in her home state of Kansas. "I'm going with Missouri, she said, when asked which state Lottery she preferred.

"I haven't won anything in Kansas," she laughed.
Fall Winds Blow Major Win for DC Lottery Player! $1,000,000 Mega Millions Prize Claimed
The $1,000,000 DC Mega Millions prize from the September 9, 2014 game has been claimed! Ms. Aisha Hawkins of Capitol Heights, Maryland declared her win with smiles and gratitude. The winning ticket was purchased at Palisades Deli & Market, 4554 MacArthur Boulevard, NW. The winning numbers were 25-34-55-70-71; and the Mega Ball number was 1. The $1 million ticket holder matched every number except the Mega Ball.

"I thought the ticket was for $250,000! And, I was thankful for that. When I called the lottery to make sure, the nice lady said that I'd won $1,000,000! I had a hot flash!" recalled the surprised stay-at-home mom of four who runs a nonprofit benefitting critically ill children. "I feel very fortunate. I am very thankful," stated Hawkins who selected her own numbers for this mega win.

"We are always excited to congratulate winners," stated Buddy Roogow, executive director of the DC Lottery. "And, Aisha has been a standout because of her care and her commitment," commented Roogow while congratulating the winner.

When asked what she was going to do next, she replied delightfully, "We have some home improvements in mind. But right now, I'm going to have lunch with my husband."
$180 Million Mega Millions Jackpot Winner Claims Fortune in Riverside County Calimesa Dad Describes Crazy Sequence of Events Leading up to Shock of his Life!
There was some very "weird stuff going on" the day before and the day of the August 22 Mega Millions draw and nobody is more superstitious than 53-year-old Rick Knudsen.

The now retired RWC Building Products Branch Manager from Calimesa said he knew then it was time to buy a ticket for the $180 million jackpot, even though he only plays the lottery maybe five times a year. "I don't play unless I feel lucky, and the jackpot is high. I felt lucky," Knudsen recalled. That might be an understatement.

This is a truly unbelievable story of some very strange coincidences related to purchases Knudsen made leading up to, and even after, his decision to buy five Mega Millions Quick Picks. The premonition Knudsen had that he just might win a fortune began the day before the draw at a convenience store.

"I bought something and it was six dollars even. No change. And then later on that morning, I bought something somewhere else and it was nine dollars even. Five different places that day I didn't pay any change. The totals were all even amounts," Knudsen explained, still in disbelief. "I'm a numbers freak and that all means something in my head. So I said, 'I gotta stop somewhere and buy a (lottery) ticket.' So on my way home, I bought the Quick Picks for $10."

Get this: Knudsen recalls the very next morning (the day of the draw), "I bought something else and it came out to even money again! It was kind of weird. But I'd already gotten my (Mega Millions) ticket, so I wasn't really thinking about (the weird string of payment occurrences) anymore."

That evening, he met his family at a time share in Indio. This is where things get a little spooky. And if you get chills, you won't be alone. "I went with my wife down to the cantina to buy some things for the room." You guessed it:

It was like $24 EVEN!!" Knudsen recalled, his voice nearly shouting with excitement. Every single thing that Knudsen had purchased over a 48-hour period totaled even dollars – absolutely no change involved! "I was like man this is it. The seventh time that I bought something in two days in two different cities and counties! The clerk at the cantina said I should buy a lottery ticket and I said, "I already did!"

But the icing on the cake came late Friday evening (Aug 22). Knudsen, who had no idea his winning Mega Millions numbers had already been drawn, met his children at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. "Everywhere I played I won! I played on seven different machines (ironically lucky seven – the same number of even-money purchases he had made!) and I won on every single one of them. I said I'm getting out of here!"

The next morning Knudsen got a call from his sister informing him that someone from Calimesa had won the $180 million jackpot. "She said did you happen to buy one? I said, 'I did!' When she said it was the Calimesa 7 Eleven, I looked up the numbers and said, 'Oh my God.' I looked at the numbers three different times and I just about fainted! My family and I were yelling and hugging. We drove home. It took 45 minutes but it felt like an entire day – felt like we were driving in the river!"

The very first line of Knudsen's five Quick Picks matched the winning numbers 5-31-34-41-74 and Mega Number 3. The 7-Eleven where he ended up buying his lucky ticket (301 County Line Road in Calimesa) is a winner too. The owners receive a $900,000 retailer bonus just for selling the ticket!

Not surprisingly, after 35 years in the roofing business, Knudsen is calling it quits. Before he claimed his winning ticket yesterday, Knudsen said he decided to go on a previously-planned Alaskan fishing trip adventure with some co-worker friends, including his boss. That's when he broke the news. "It was bittersweet. When you like your job, I'd been working there since I was 19," his voice trailing off.

Knudsen has decided to take the cash option lump sum amount of $107 million (even!) before federal taxes. The long time Riverside County resident says he will be helping his church with some things, including a new roof. "And then enjoy life, help my (five) kids and (three) grandkids.

"A friend of mine told me he heard the odds of winning (the Mega Millions jackpot) are the same as you being eaten by a shark and lightning hitting you at the same time – and probably some other things as well! I just had a feeling. I only play when I feel lucky. And I felt lucky." Knudsen has enough money now to tell merchants, "Keep the change!" no matter how the total works out in the future.
Pittsburgh Man Claims $86.7 Million Mega Millions Jackpot
Carl Szott, of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, today claimed an $86.7 million Mega Millions jackpot from the May 20, 2014, drawing.

It is the first jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket sold by the Pennsylvania Lottery and the fifth-largest prize awarded in the Lottery's history.

Lottery Executive Director Sil Lutkewitte today presented a ceremonial check for $86,755,350 to Mr. Szott, holder of the single jackpot-winning ticket from that drawing. Szott was accompanied by his wife and several family members.

The ticket correctly matched all five white balls, 10-40-63-64-69, plus the Megaball, 07, to win a prize of a $149 million annuity, or $86.7 million cash, less 25 percent federal withholding. This jackpot had started growing in early April and rolled 12 times.

"Winning the jackpot has been a surreal experience," Szott said. "We hope that very little in our lives will change; we are really excited to be able to spend more time with our children and grandchildren."

Szott noted that he waited 100 days to claim the prize in order to "make sure we were doing everything right."

Szott purchased the ticket at White Oak Gas & Grocery, 1100 Fawcett Ave., White Oak, Allegheny County. It was a Quick Pick ticket. The store, a Lottery retailer since April 2012, earns a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

This morning, Szott presented the Mega Millions ticket for validation at Lottery headquarters in Middletown, Dauphin County. Lottery officials confirmed it was the jackpot-winning ticket after examining the ticket and executing proprietary security measures.

"I'm very glad to introduce Carl Szott as the Pennsylvania Lottery's very first Mega Millions jackpot winner," said Lutkewitte. "This jackpot is also the fifth-largest prize in Pennsylvania Lottery history."
Port Huron Woman Wins $66 Million Mega Millions Jackpot from Michigan Lottery
Kelsey Zachow will never forget the heart-pounding adrenaline rush she felt when she learned she had won a $66 million Mega Millions jackpot.

"I started playing the Lottery because of the chance to win millions. I always dreamed about winning and what I would do with the money, and now that dream is a reality," Zachow said.

Ironically, Zachow, of Port Huron, won her jackpot last month on what many consider the unluckiest of days: Friday the 13th.

Zachow walked into Sonny's Mart, located at 12 Market Street in Mount Clemens, and bought five Mega Millions plays. Her fifth number, an easy pick, matched the Mega Millions numbers drawn that evening 07-38-46-49-56 and the Gold Mega Ball: 01 to win the $66 million jackpot from the Michigan Lottery.

Zachow elected to receive her jackpot as a one-time lump sum cash payment of nearly $38 million, and will take home nearly $27 million after taxes.

The 24-year-old Zachow didn't know she was the big jackpot winner until 10 days after the drawing. She had accumulated several tickets in her purse and visited a Lottery retailer to scan them and see what she had won.

"When the clerk at the store told me I had a big winner I was positive that he was mistaken," said Zachow. "There was a long line in the store behind me, so I decided to leave and looked the numbers up on MichiganLottery.com when I got into my car. That's when I realized I had won the jackpot and could barely breathe."

After a tense drive home, Zachow ran into her house and screamed for her boyfriend.

"I was screaming 'I won! I won!' at the top of my lungs and he came running into the room," said Zachow. "I was yelling so much that he thought I had been in a car accident or hit someone on my way home. I told him I had a $66 million ticket in my hand and he didn't believe me. He finally looked at the ticket and couldn't believe his eyes."

After sharing the good news with a few close friends and family members, Zachow locked the ticket in a safe, then began to make plans. The next few weeks were busy for the new millionaire as she met with financial planners and a lawyer to get ready to collect her big prize.

With her winnings, she plans to purchase a new home, take a vacation to Europe, and help family members. She also is planning to establish college funds for several of her young family members.

After things begin to settle down for Zachow, she plans to focus on spending time with her family and building a financial foundation that will help her family into the future.

For now, she's going to take time to adjust to her new wealth. For example, Zachow has long dreamed of owning a Ford Mustang convertible, but is in no hurry to visit a dealership to make a purchase.

"I have always wanted an electric blue Ford Mustang, and one day I will get one, but helping my family live comfortably comes first for me," Zachow said.
Albuquerque Man Wins 15 Prizes in One Mega Millions Drawing
An Albuquerque man won 15 prizes totaling $60,000 in one Mega Millions drawing. Steven Traub claimed his prizes in person at New Mexico Lottery headquarters yesterday. "This has made my day," Traub said.

For the July 8 drawing, Traub purchased five plays on three tickets for a total of 15 plays.

On every play, Traub used the ages of his four youngest children and his wife (14, 19, 25, 27 and 49) as his white ball numbers. To complete the plays, Traub selected one from each of the game's 15 yellow Mega Balls.

The winning numbers on July 8 were 14, 25, 27, 48 and 49 and the yellow Mega Ball of 9. On 14 plays, Traub matched four white ball numbers to win 14 prizes of $500 each, totaling $7,000. On one play, he matched four white ball numbers and the yellow Mega Ball to win $5,000. Traub's winnings came to $12,000, but his good fortune didn't end there.

Traub added the game's Megaplier feature to each play. The $1-per play feature multiples non-jackpot prizes between two and five times, depending on the multiplier drawn. On July 8, the number 5 was drawn as the multiplier. Traub's winnings went from $12,000 to $60,000.

The winner discovered his good fortune Tuesday night when he checked his tickets for prizes.

"I sat in my car in disbelief," Traub said. He said he plans to use his prizes to pay bills and travel.

Traub bought his lucky ticket at Pump N Save located at 3600 Wyoming Blvd. NE in Albuquerque.
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