Winning $2 billion Powerball ticket sold at Joe’s gas station in California – InsuranceNewsNet

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The election doesn’t matter. Or the rain.

The big news?

A new billionaire is among us.

A crowd gathered Tuesday morning at Joe’s gas station in Altadena to celebrate.

A winning ticket sold at Joe’s Mobil station on Woodbury Road, which has been owned by Joe Chahayed for 20 years, was worth a record $2.04 billion, according to lottery officials.

Chahayed told a crowd of reporters and supporters gathered outside his gas station that state lottery officials had called him the night before but only said news would come in the morning.

Lottery officials “came here before I opened,” said Chahayed, who wore a yellow and blue lottery t-shirt that read “Millionaire Made Here.”

“They said, ‘Congratulations.’ ”

Whoever bought the ticket has yet to come forward, lottery officials said, but the ticket matches all six numbers: 10, 33, 41, 47, 56 and the Powerball number of 10.

Someone, a lottery official said, has a “very important piece of paper” in their possession.

Powerball rules require that the original ticket, not a copy, be presented in order to claim the prize, said California Lottery spokeswoman Cathy Johnston. The winner has one year to return it.

“They absolutely have to keep it,” she said.

The $2.04 billion lottery jackpot is the largest in US history.

Chahayed’s opinion?

$1 million.

When asked what he would do with the million dollars, he said he would share it with his family, including his 11 grandchildren. Chahayed, a father of five, came to the United States from Syria with his wife and first two children.

“No one else deserves this more than this man who has worked hard all his life,” his son Danny said during the impromptu celebration broadcast on local media.

Chahayed, 75, said he would not retire: “I love my job.”

Drivers honked their horns as they passed the station; some came to take pictures with Chahayed.

So who is the lucky one who has the ticket?

Chahayed thinks he’s a regular and someone from the neighborhood, but it’s unclear if the station knows exactly who has the ticket. Chahayed, in an interview with the Southern California News Group, said he hoped the winner was indeed a local.

“It’s a very poor neighborhood,” Chahayed said. “The poor deserve it.”

According to California rules, the winner’s name must be released by state lottery officials.

Winners can either take a reduced amount in a lump sum or get the full amount in annual installments over 30 years.

In this case, the noteholder would receive approximately $997.6 million if taken in a cash lump sum and the full $2.04 billion under the 30-year payout option.

Most winners, Johnston said, take the lump sum.

“It’s great (for the winners) to have a financial advisor, especially with such a big jackpot and to find a lawyer, a tax specialist, an investment company,” she said. “We absolutely hope… that people will. …

“It is life changing. It could make all the difference for generations.

Three other tickets sold in California matched five numbers in the draw but were missing the Powerball number. Those tickets – sold in Gardena, Beaumont and San Francisco – are each worth around $1.15 million. A total of 22 such tickets were sold nationwide.

Chahayed said the station sold winning Super Lotto and Fantasy 5 tickets before it netted ticket holders $8,000 to $9,000.

Powerball has 48 linked lotteries, representing 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

The winning numbers were announced Tuesday morning; they were supposed to be distributed Monday evening, but problems in other states slowed the selection of lucky numbers.

The win was historic in many ways, Johnston said — a record $156 million goes to public schools.

“I’ve been here 27 years and I’ve seen every other jackpot,” she said.

But nothing like this.

“I was hoping I wasn’t being unprofessional (when the drawing was done), but I was like, ‘Whooo!’ ” she says.

The odds of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number are 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the game.

One final question was shouted out, causing great laughter, during the celebration at the gas station on Tuesday morning to the owner and his family, which helps him run the business:

“Are you going to lower gas prices?”

City News Service contributed to this report.

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