Powerball Winner Validates $338M Ticket Sold at NJ Liquor Store
(NEW YORK) -- The single winner of a $338 million Powerball jackpot validated the winning ticket Monday afternoon where it was purchased: Eagle Liquor in Passaic, N.J., said lottery officials.
"Apparently, the winner was listening to my advice during today's press conference regarding getting the ticket validated," said Carole Hedinger, executive director of the New Jersey Lottery, in a written news release. "I am looking forward to meeting the winner."
A man named Pedro Quezada, 44, showed up at the store on Monday, claiming that he was the winner, ABC News affiliate WABC-TV reported.
However, as of Monday evening, lottery officials still had not confirmed the winner's name.
"We do not know the name of the person officially but we do know that the ticket is valid and it was validated," said Judy Drucker, a New Jersey Lottery spokeswoman, according to ABC News Radio. "It would have been nice to know [the name] but we heard that he took the claim form with him...assuming he's going to be filing it out at home."
At a news conference earlier Monday, a giant yellow check made out to "New Jersey Lottery Winner" took center stage.
"We are waiting for the winner to contact us, or the possible winners," Hedinger said. "Whoever they are, they should sign the back of that ticket and put it in a safe place."
She urged whoever has the winning ticket to "take their time" and "seek professional advice" before they come forward to claim the prize. If the jackpot is taken in a lump sum, the amount left after taxes would be a cool $151,920,000, Hedinger said.
New Jersey does not offer anonymity to lottery winners, Hedinger said, and their names and hometowns are part of the public record.
Sunil Sethi, 51, the owner of Eagle Liquor, was ecstatic his store sold the winning ticket.
"We always had a dream to sell this ticket. We did it. It's a dream come true," he said, promising to give the ticketholder "nice gifts and hugs" when they claim their prize.
Sethi called it his "most prosperous day in a long time" and said people were flocking to his store to buy more tickets and check their old ones.
For its part, Eagle Liquor will receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
More than $41 million worth of tickets were sold for the drawing in New Jersey, which Hedinger said is a boon for the state.
The manager of Love's Travel Stops & Country Store in Bordentown, N.J., initially said he might have sold the winning ticket after he said he received a call from a happy truck driver who claimed to have matched all six numbers.
"Upon listening to his voice, he did sound happy, kind of like a relief like he wouldn't have to work as hard and nice to hear that for someone," store manager Isaiah DeVries told ABC News early Monday morning.
Hedinger said lottery officials had not spoken to anyone at the Bordentown store, but they are sure the ticket was sold in Passiac, in the northern part of the state.
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