Lucky Lottery Winner Still Silent
RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Sept. 19, 2005 -- A convenience store that sold a lottery ticket worth $250 million has been enjoying a rush of customers since the drawing, but the lucky winner had yet to emerge Monday.
Leprechaun News II owner Yogendra R. Patel said he has been selling plenty of lottery tickets since his shop was identified as the location that sold a Mega Millions ticket for the largest single-ticket lottery jackpot ever in New Jersey.
Patel, 49, is to get $10,000 because the ticket for the 11-state lottery was purchased at his store, but he had enough joy to go around.
"I'm happy for the person who made the big win," Patel said over the weekend.
Lottery officials on Monday had no word from the ticket holder.
Over the weekend, customer Joe Berman put his hands on the walls of the store and shouted, "This place is possessed with luck!" He said he hoped some would rub off on him.
He - and anyone else - hoping to win the Mega Millions jackpot would need a large dose of luck: The odds of any one ticket having the winning combination are 1 in 175,711,536.
The president of the Rutherford Borough Council, George Fecanin, said many in the town of 18,000 were wondering who the winner was.
"The whole town is excited. Everybody's happy and they hope that somebody from Rutherford did win, and somebody who really needs it," Fecanin said.
The winning numbers were: 5, 16, 41, 46 and 50. The Gold Mega Ball was 1.
Michellene Davis, executive director of the New Jersey Lottery, advised the holder to immediately sign the ticket and contact lottery officials at 609-599-5800.
She said it could be cashed in for a lump sum of $151.3 million or taken in annual installments of $9.6 million for 25 years.
In addition to being the state's largest single-ticket win, it also would be the fifth-largest prize in the history of Mega Millions, which is played in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
The previous state record for the highest single-ticket lottery jackpot was held by Sonny Judson of Cliffside Park, who won $165 million in the Mega Millions drawing of July 16, 2002. The nation's record jackpot was $363 million, shared by two Mega Millions winners in May 2000. The largest single-ticket winner won a $314.9 million jackpot in the multistate Powerball game on Christmas Day 2002.
The draw for the most recent Mega Millions winner began on July 26 with a jackpot of $12 million. Players bought a total of more than $491 million worth of tickets, according to lottery officials.
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