NJ Man Claims Share of $448M Powerball Jackpot
(NEW YORK) — A New Jersey man has come forward as the third and final multi-millionaire to claim his bonanza from the $448 million Powerball jackpot drawing in August, lottery officials said.
Mario Scarnici, of Monmouth Junction, N.J., claimed his prize winnings at the New Jersey Lottery headquarters, accompanied by family, the morning of Aug. 22, New Jersey Lottery spokeswoman Judith Drucker told ABC News.
Opting for a cash ticket over the annuity option, Scarnici will reap nearly $62 million after federal and state taxes, Drucker said.
Scarnici, a longtime lottery fan in his 70s, purchased his Powerball ticket at a Stop & Shop in South Brunswick, where he had been buying tickets for years.
“I go into the store and buy a newspaper and lottery tickets,” he told lottery officials.
Scarnici placed three wagers for the Powerball game on a single ticket, all of which were Quick Pick numbers generated by a computer. One of the lines on the slip of paper bore the winning numbers from the Aug. 7 drawing.
While Scarnici did not share what he planned to do with his newfound wealth, he divvied up a portion of his earnings equally between his two adult sons, Drucker said.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to meet the lottery winners, most of whom are hardworking, average people,” Carole Hedinger, executive director of the New Jersey Lottery, said in a statement. “Their lives are then dramatically changed by the win, removing any burden of debt from their lives. On behalf of the lottery, I wish the Scarnici family well.”
Drucker said Scarnici did not want to hold a news conference or speak publicly about his win. As to why he waited to come forward and claim his prize, Drucker said Scarnici’s behavior wasn’t out of the ordinary.
“We always tell people, consult with your tax advisers, consult with your financial advisers. You have a full year to come forward,” she said. “When they come forward very quickly, it’s more questionable to us then it is if they take their time.”
Scarnici had actually come into New Jersey Lottery headquarters twice before he officially claimed his prize, Drucker said.
“He was just coming in, questioning the process and how the process works and how much he would be receiving,” she said. “He was making sure this was all real.”
Drucker said Scarnici first stopped by headquarters on Aug. 12, then again on Aug. 15 to hand over his ticket. He finalized his earnings on Aug. 22, she said.
Scarnici had the second winning ticket purchased in New Jersey from the Aug. 7 drawing. He joins the group of Ocean County Vehicle Services Department employees dubbed Ocean’s 16, who split the $149 million prize equally.
Paul White, of Ham Lake, Minn., was the third Powerball winner from the Aug. 7 drawing, which boasted one of the largest jackpots in history.
This is the first time in 20 years that two winning jackpot tickets were sold in the same state, according to the New Jersey Lottery. The last time the phenomenon took place was in December 1993, and the tickets were sold in Washington, D.C.
The Stop & Shop earned a $30,000 commission for selling the winning ticket, some of which it planned to donate to local organizations, Drucker said.
Arlene Putterman, a spokeswoman for Stop & Shop, told ABCNews.com that the store planned to donate $5,000 each to the Make-a-Wish foundation and an autism organization in the South Brunswick, N.J., area.
ABC News’ calls to the Scarnici family were not immediately returned.
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