$338M Powerball jackpot winner validates New Jersey ticket

PASSAIC, N.J. - The lone winning ticket for a $338.3 million Powerball jackpot was validated Monday at the liquor store where it was purchased, but lottery officials said they don't yet know the winner's name.

The ticket holder went to Eagle Liquors in Passaic and had the ticket validated at around 4:30 p.m. for the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history, the New Jersey Lottery said.

The numbers drawn Saturday were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. A lump sum cash payout would be $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes.

Liquor store employee Pravin Mankodia, 67, who has worked at Eagle for seven years, sold the ticket. "It feels awesome, we feel so lucky," he said.

The store will get $10,000. The owner said he'll probably use some of the money to fix up the store and also share some with employees.

As word spread that Eagle had sold the ticket, some patrons continued to dream about what could have been.

James Brown, 56, of Passaic, who described himself as a scrap man, as in scrap metal, said he would have returned to his home state if he had scored the big jackpot.

"I like it here, but I'd be back in South Carolina by now if I had won. I would like to go back home and retire," he said.

Brown buys lottery tickets twice a day and said he will keep doing so.

He then sought out Mankodia.

"Maybe he'll shake my hand and give me some luck, too," he said.

Other patrons were excited that someone from the area had apparently won the big jackpot.

"It's about time someone from Passaic wins something," said Gloria Brinson of Paterson, who buys lottery tickets at the store each week. "But now the question is what are they going to do with the money? Are they going to help the community? I hope so."

The winner will owe 25 percent of the jackpot in federal taxes and 3 percent in state taxes, which amounts to about $59 million, according to state lottery officials. The cash value of the jackpot after taxes is about $152 million, if the winner chooses a lump-sum payment of $221 million over an annuity.

No one had won the Powerball jackpot since early February, when Dave Honeywell in Virginia bought the winning ticket and elected a cash lump sum for his $217 million jackpot.

The largest Powerball jackpot ever came in at $587.5 million in November. The winning numbers were picked on two different tickets -- one by a couple in Missouri and the other by an Arizona man -- and the jackpot was split.

Nebraska still holds the record for the largest Powerball jackpot won on a single ticket -- $365 million -- by eight workers at a Lincoln meatpacking plant in February 2006.

Powerball is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chance of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is about 1 in 175 million.
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Associated Press writer Angela Delli Santi contributed to this report from Lawrenceville, N.J.

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