The New Jersey man who won $338 million in the Powerball lottery last weekend is wanted on charges of unpaid child support, according to the Passaic County Sheriff's Office.
An arrest warrant was issued for Pedro Quezada in 2009, the sheriff's office said. He has five children ages 5-23 and owes a total of $29,000 in back child support, spokesman William Maer said. It is not clear which children the payments are for.
No cyanide remained in the exhumed body of Illinois lottery winner Urooj Khan, preventing investigators from determining how the toxin entered his body, the Cook County medical examiner said Friday.
Still, Dr. Stephen Cina maintained his determination from January: that blood samples taken after Khan's death in July show the 46-year-old died of cyanide poisoning, and that the manner of death was homicide.
Officials in January exhumed the body of Khan – who died the day after the Illinois lottery issued him a check for about $425,000 for winning a scratch-off game – hoping to determine how cyanide entered his system.FULL STORY
Workers have begun the process of exhuming the body of an Illinois lottery winner who authorities believe was poisoned.
A crew is digging at the north-side Chicago gravesite of Urooj Khan, whose July death at age 46 came one month after he became a $1 million winner on an Illinois lottery scratch ticket.
Investigators initially ruled Khan's manner of death natural, and Khan was buried. But after being prompted by a relative, the medical examiner's office in Cook County, Illinois, did more in-depth toxicology tests on the blood that the office had, and eventually determined there was a lethal amount of cyanide in Khan's system.
Police are now investigating Khan's death as a murder, and they want to use the exhumation to determine how the cyanide entered Khan's system. No arrests have been made in the case.
"I think we're going to have a pretty good Christmas," Cindy Hill joked Friday, just minutes after a Missouri lottery official announced that Hill and her family had won half of the record $587.5 million Powerball jackpot.
"We're still stunned by what's happened. It's surreal," Hill said. "Every once in a while you look at each other and say, 'Did we really win that money?'" said the Dearborn, Missouri, resident.
Seated at a table at Dearborn's North Platte R-1 High School, Hill, her husband, Mark, their three grown sons, Jason, Cody and Jarod, and their adopted 6-year-old daughter, Jaiden, joyfully answered questions from the media.FULL STORY
If you are in Missouri or Arizona, check your lottery tickets. You could be filthy rich.
Tickets for the record-breaking estimated $579 million jackpot were purchased in those states, lottery officials said early Thursday morning.FULL STORY
Wednesday's Powerball drawing could be one for the history books, with the jackpot rising to a record $550 million.
The prize for last Saturday's Powerball was $325 million - the fourth-largest in the game's history. For the 15th consecutive time, no players matched the winning numbers, which were 22, 32, 37, 44, 50 and Powerball 34.READ FULL CNNMONEY.COM STORY
Wednesday's Powerball drawing could be one for the history books, with the jackpot rising to a record $500 million.
The prize for Saturday night's Powerball was $325 million – the fourth-largest in the game's history. For the 15th consecutive time, no players matched the winning numbers, which were 22, 32, 37, 44, 50 and Powerball 34.FULL STORY
Donald Lawson intends to do the typical lottery-winner stuff: Retire, take care of his family, travel, get a new place to live.
But the 44-year-old Michigan man insists his $337 million Powerball prize – the third-largest in Powerball history, and seventh-largest jackpot in U.S. history – won’t change him.
“I’m a millionaire now, but I’ll still go to McDonald’s,” Lawson told reporters Friday at the Michigan Lottery headquarters in Lansing, where he came forward to collect on the August 15 drawing. “I don’t like filet mignon or lobster. I like the simple life, and that’s what I want to continue to do.”
Lawson, of Lapeer, was the sole winner of the August 15 prize. He chose the lump-sum cash option, which gives him $224.6 million, before tax, at once.
The odds of winning at least $1 million by matching the first five numbers in a Powerball drawing are 1 in 5.15 million. Four people beat those odds in Florida this week.
In the same county. Buying from the same grocery chain.
Four tickets bought from a Publix store in separate cities in South Florida's Broward County matched the first five numbers drawn on Wednesday night, said David Bishop, Florida Lottery deputy secretary.
Each missed the Powerball digit, but still won a prize of at least $1 million. One was an upgraded Power Play ticket, bringing that buyer's prize to $2 million.
"Four winners in the same county, all bought at one retail chain. It's really remarkable," Bishop said Friday.
The Butlers kept their secret for more than two weeks, but like most lottery winners they eventually had to let the world know of their millions.
It was revealed Wednesday that Merle and Pat Butler, a 60-something couple from the tiny St. Louis suburb of Red Bud, Illinois, had the third and final winning ticket in the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot from March 30.
Their take was $217 million, which comes to $158 million after taxes, and the couple had good reason for waiting so long to come forward.
“I figured the quieter I keep it, the better we are to get it set up and get it going before we did the claim,” Merle Butler said.
Michael Boone, a Bellevue, Washington-based wealth manager, said he often encourages clients with “found money” – that is, inheritance, lottery winnings or high-dollar sports contracts – to keep a low profile.
It seems at least a few lucky souls got similar advice. Of 10 past lottery winners CNN tried to reach, seven had changed their numbers. Of the three who answered their phones, two politely declined to discuss their experiences.
“I still prefer to remain anonymous,” said a past District of Columbia Lotto winner.
[Updated at 11:26 a.m. ET] Merle and Pat Butler, lifetime residents of Red Bud, Illinois, hold the third winning ticket worth $218 million in last month's record $656 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot, officials announced Wednesday.
"I looked (at) my wife, who was right there with me, and said, 'We won,' Merle Butler, 65, told reporters in Red Bud on Wednesday of the moment he realized he had a winning ticket on the night of the March 30 drawing. "Then she looked at me funny, and I said, 'No, we won.' "
"She giggled for about four hours, I think," he said.
The retired couple bought just three numbers for the drawing, meaning they spent $3 to win their share of the jackpot. They bought the ticket in Red Bud, a community of about 3,700 people roughly 25 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri.
The Butlers came forward publicly in their hometown's City Hall on Wednesday after spending the past two weeks hiring "real good financial advisers" and a lawyer to help them manage their new fortune, which is $158 million after taxes are deducted, they said.
Two other winning tickets (worth roughly $218 million each, before taxes) were sold for the March 30 drawing that had a record $656 million pretax payout: One in Maryland, and one in Kansas.
The three people who shared a winning ticket in Maryland and the one winner in Kansas claimed their prizes earlier this month, but they exercised their rights in those states to not reveal their names. Illinois, unlike those states, requires lottery winners to come forward publicly.
Still, the Maryland lottery winners made it known that they are three public school employees - a woman in her 20s, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s. The Maryland winners are an elementary school teacher, a special education teacher and an administrative worker, according to Maryland Lottery.
The man and two women who shared ownership of the winning ticket in Maryland are known only as the "Three Amigos." They said they plan to keep their fortune a secret - and keep working.FULL STORY
Two teachers and an administrator at a public school claimed a winning ticket for the Mega Millions jackpot, according to Maryland lottery officials.
The winners have told lottery officials that they plan to continue to work after they get their winnings, which will total $35 million each.
The group bought $60 worth of tickets, according to lottery officials.
Two other winning tickets, sold in Kansas and Illinois, split the $656 million jackpot.
The winners, a woman in her 20s, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s, who are calling themselves "The Three Amigos," have worked together for many years in the public school system. This is the first time they've pooled money together, according to lottery officials.
On the night of the drawing the woman who bought the tickets laid them all out on the floor and watched the drawing, officials said. She then called her fellow public school workers, one of who thought it was an early April Fool's Day joke, to let them know they had won, according to officials.FULL STORY
“Never tell me the odds.”
– Han Solo in "The Empire Strikes Back"
Look. We know that you're aware the odds of winning Friday night’s record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot, or any Mega Millions jackpot, are astronomical.
We also know that for the people who win it, the odds matter not one bit. Someone is going to win at least a share of the prize – if not Friday, then in some subsequent drawing. But since we’re covering the historic jackpot and showing people in long lines giddily talking about how many cars or yachts or Dippin' Dots they’d buy if they win, we feel compelled to remind you:
It’s not going to be you.
The odds of a ticket winning a Mega Millions jackpot is 175,711,536 to 1. As Han Solo’s talkative robotic friend would tell you, you have a much, much better chance (1 in 3,720!) of navigating an asteroid field successfully. We didn’t exactly vet that, but you know you’d smash your ship into the rocks. And who are we to question protocol droids fluent in more than 6 million forms of communication?
To hammer home the point, here are a few other unlikely scenarios that, we’re sorry to say, are far more likely than you taking home a jackpot.
From the Harvard School of Public Health:
– Chances of dying from a bee sting: 1 in 6.1 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
– Chance you will be die from being struck by lightning: 1 in 3 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
From the University of Maryland Medical Center:
– Chance of having conjoined twins: 1 in 200,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
– The chance of an amateur golfer making a hole in one on a par-3 hole is about 1 in 12,500. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
– The chance of a golfer hitting a hole in one on consecutive par-3 holes: 1 in about 156 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
From a 2011 State Farm study on collisions between vehicles and deer:
– The chance of hitting a deer with a vehicle in Hawaii, the state where State Farm says deer-vehicle collisions are least likely, is 1 in 6,267. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
From the National Weather Service:
– The chance of being struck by lightning over an 80-year lifetime: 1 in 10,000. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
From the Florida Museum of Natural History, based on U.S. beach injury statistics in 2000:
– Chance of drowning and other beach-related fatalites: 1 in 2 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
– Chance of being attacked by a shark: 1 in 11.5 million. Chance you will win the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 175.7 million.
What are the odds you will win? Weigh in below, or on Twitter using #whataretheodds.
[Update on Friday] The estimated jackpot for Friday's Mega Millions drawing has risen to $640 million, lottery officials said Friday.
[Posted at 1:57 p.m. ET Thursday] The estimated jackpot for Friday night's Mega Millions drawing rose Thursday to $540 million, extending what Mega Millions officials say already was going to be a world record for lottery jackpots.
Friday's jackpot initially was estimated at $476 million, and then $500 million, but stronger-than-anticipated sales nationwide have helped push up the figure, lottery officials said.
The previous world record for a single jackpot, according to Mega Millions officials, was that game's $390 million prize in a March 6, 2007, drawing. That jackpot was split by winners in Georgia and New Jersey.
The growing jackpot has drawn plenty of interest from would-be millionaires.
In Texas, one of the 42 states where Mega Millions is played, 482,763 standard $1 tickets – that is, tickets without the extra $1 Megaplier option – were sold from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, said Kelly Cripe, spokeswoman for the Texas Lottery Commission. In the same hour a day earlier, 143,605 tickets were told in Texas, Cripe said.
Editor's note: The day after this story was published, the jackpot estimate rose to $540 million.
The jackpot in Friday's Mega Millions lottery drawing has risen to an estimated $500 million, the largest in the game's history, after Tuesday night's drawing produced no jackpot-winning ticket.
The latest estimate, announced around midday Wednesday, is even larger than lottery officials had announced just hours earlier. The initial estimate for Friday's drawing was $476 million, which also would have been a Mega Millions record.
Tuesday's numbers were 9, 19, 34, 44 and 51, with a Mega Ball of 24. That drawing was for an estimated $363 million jackpot, which would have been the game's third-largest.
Forty-seven tickets earned a pre-tax prize of at least $250,000 each by matching five numbers without matching the Mega Ball. Nine California winners will get $308,573 each because of parimutuel rules in that state.
The game's previous biggest jackpot was $390 million in a March 6, 2007, drawing. That jackpot was split by winners in Georgia and New Jersey.
The growing jackpot has drawn plenty of interest from would-be millionaires. On Monday, lottery officials announced that "stronger than expected sales" prompted them to push up Tuesday's jackpot up from an initial estimate of $356 million to $363 million.
"I see so many different faces every day, and it's not just Tuesday and Friday that they come in. It's every day of the week," Latasha Allen, a manager at a Columbus, Georgia, convenience store, told CNN affiliate WTVM-TV this week about the growing number of lottery players in recent days.
Strong sales of Mega Millions lottery tickets are reported across the country for Tuesday night's estimated $363 million jackpot, the third largest in the game's history.
"Peak sales hours for Mega Millions are typically on the day of the drawing during the evening rush hour. We anticipate brisk sales as people head home from work," said Tandi Reddick, media relations manager for the Georgia Lottery Corp.
The drawing is at 11 p.m. ET Tuesday.
A winning ticket must match all five numbers drawn from a pot containing 56 balls and then match the Mega Ball, which is drawn from a pot containing 46 numbers. Odds of winning are almost 176 million to 1. Each ticket costs $1.
The $363 million prize is payable as an annuity over 26 years. The cash option payout for Tuesday's jackpot is $259 million. Both are before taxes.
Arizona lottery officials say that Tuesday night's cash option payout is the largest in history, a fact they attribute to the country's current low interest rates.
Lottery players, your chance for millions is about to cost you twice as much.
The Multi-State Lottery Association, which administers the Powerball game, says the price of a single ticket will double to $2 beginning January 15.
"After 20 years at the same price and after watching scratch ticket sales take off with $2, $3, $5, $10, $20, and even $50 tickets, we are going to make the big jump," the association says on its website.
When the price increases, jackpots will start at $40 million, up from $20 million now, and will increase twice as fast, lottery officials say. The average jackpot is predicted to be $255 million, nearly double the current $141 million. The lottery association hopes that will increase sales.
"We know that most folks play for the big jackpots and this game will have more of those more often," it says on its website.
Officials say the odds of winning the jackpot will decrease slightly as the number of red balls, or powerballs, will decrease from 39 to 35.
They also say the pricier game should produce more millionaires, as second prize - for matching the five white balls without the powerball - increases from $200,000 to $1 million.
The Power Play option, which doubles all prizes except the jackpot, will remain, for an additional dollar on the ticket purchase, according to the lottery's website.
Powerball drawings are at 10:59 p.m. ET Wednesdays and Saturdays. Powerball is available in 42 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Officials say the cost of a single ticket for the MegaMillions game, drawn on Tuesday and Fridays, will remain at $1. Forty states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands participate in MegaMillions.
A Louisiana lottery winner says a cashier’s mistake made him hundreds of thousands of dollars richer than he should be.
Robert Thibodaux Sr., of Thibodaux, Louisiana, on Thursday claimed a $1 million Powerball prize at the state’s lottery headquarters, an amount five times greater than it would have been had a clerk not mistakenly upgraded his ticket, he said.
“I’m a lucky person – I won a lot of money. But this lady who sold me the ticket is a big part of this,” Thibodaux said Thursday at Louisiana Lottery headquarters in Baton Rouge.
Thibodaux, 70, matched five numbers in the October 29 drawing but missed the Powerball number, Louisiana lottery officials said. Ordinarily, that would win a $200,000 prize.
But when he bought that and a second Powerball ticket at a Shop Rite in Thibodaux, a cashier mistakenly added the Power Play option to both, he said. That option, which cost Thibodaux $1 extra per ticket, multiplies non-jackpot prizes by up to five times.
The odds of winning a Powerball jackpot are 1 in 195,249,054. It appears Kathy Scruggs beat them without even trying.
Scruggs, 44, of Lithonia, Georgia, told lottery officials Monday that she won September 14’s $25 million Powerball jackpot only because a store clerk had misunderstood which lottery ticket she wanted to buy.
Scruggs said she had asked the clerk at a Shell Food Mart for a Mega Millions ticket, not a Powerball slip.
“But when she turned around, she had actually printed out a Powerball ticket also. So I actually bought (both),” Scruggs said Monday in a video recorded at Georgia Lottery headquarters in Atlanta, where Scruggs had come to claim the prize.
Just when things look hopeless, sometimes an unexpected breakthrough happens.
Just ask David and Beth Loomis of Columbus, Ohio.
David Loomis lost his job last year, and his unemployment benefits were about to expire. But while Beth Loomis was walking their dog Tuesday morning, she found a dollar and thought, "I guess this might be our lucky day," she told CNN affiliate WBNS.
Ohio Lottery officials had invited the couple to come to lottery headquarters to pick up a hat and cup consolation prize from a 2010 drawing.
What they didn't tell the Loomises was that there also was a $150,000 check waiting for them from a lottery ticket David Loomis had bought last year.
When the surprise check was presented, David Loomis gaped at his wife, then spun his chair halfway around, speechless. Then both husband and wife wept.
They plan to use the money to pay off bills and perhaps make a down payment on a house, Beth Loomis told WBNS.