North Carolina – They work together, they play the lottery together, and now a group of 12 medical center co-workers is celebrating a $150,000 Powerball prize together.
Every week, for the last six years, they’ve pooled their money to get Powerball tickets. They call themselves the Fantastic 12.
“We each put in three dollars,” Laurie Ellsworth of New Bern said. “If we win something, we reinvest it the next week.”
Keeping with tradition, Ellsworth collected the money from her co-workers and stopped at the Circle K on New Bern Highway in Jacksonville and bought Powerball tickets for the Nov. 16 drawing. She checked the tickets three days later using the NC Education Lottery Official Mobile App.
“When I saw that we won, I started screaming,” Ellsworth said. “I thought we’d won $30,000, but then Will checked the numbers again and said we’d actually won $150,000. I had to call the lottery just to make sure we weren’t seeing things.”
“I was pretty shocked, when I saw the numbers,” William Cotton of New Bern said. “It was pure excitement.”
They rushed to share the good news by calling and texting the rest of the group. Not everyone believed them at first.
“I thought they were pulling a prank,” Stanford Weaver of New Bern said. “It wasn’t until I saw the ticket for myself that I believed it.”
The co-workers claimed their prize Wednesday at lottery headquarters. They split the prize, and after required state and federal tax withholdings, they took home the following:
Laurie Ellsworth of New Bern: $8,883
Michael Turney of Trent Woods: $8,840
Thomas Brouhard III of Kinston: $ 8,840
William Cotton of New Bern: $8,840
Joseph Smalldridge of New Bern: $ 8,840
Edward Tripp of Cove City: $8,840
James Migliorato of New Bern: $8,840
John Pate of Vanceboro: $8,840
Stephen Mills of Vanceboro: $8,840
Frederick Williamson Jr. of Vanceboro: $8,840
David Raines of Vanceboro: $8,840
Stanford Weaver of New Bern: $8,840
The group has a variety of different plans for the money. Some plan to pay off bills and invest. Others plan to start college funds for their children. One even plans to get a new kayak with his share of the money.
The winning ticket matched numbers on four of the white balls and the Powerball to win $50,000. The prize tripled when the 3X multiplier was drawn. The ticket beat odds of one in 913,129. The jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball drawing is $130 million or $89.6 million cash.
Ticket sales from draw games like Powerball make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $700 million a year for education. For details on how lottery funds made a difference in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties last year, click on the “Impact” section of the lottery’s website.