A massive $448 million Powerball jackpot is up for grabs by the owners of three tickets. One colorful Minnesota man validated his $149 million claim Thursday, but in New Jersey – which remarkably sold two winning tickets – the ticket-holders are still unconfirmed.
Media reports suggest that one winning ticket, purchased at Acme Markets in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., was snapped up by 16 employees of the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department.
But Judith Drucker, public relations manager of the New Jersey Lottery, cautions that there is no official word on these workers.
Drucker pointed out the story originated from one paper, and says in the past people have fraudulently alerted the media to "winning" tickets.
"I'm not saying it's not true, I'm saying we can't confirm any of it," she told U.S. News on Friday. "We have not had any contact whatsoever."
Regardless of who claims the winnings, shops in the Garden State definitively sold two of the winning tickets ahead of the Wednesday drawing. The other ticket was sold at the Super Stop & Shop store in South Brunswick, N.J.
Drucker says the winners could come forward as early as Friday or next week. The state lottery has received no inquiries from supposed winners, she said.
New Jersey resident Pedro Quezada won another big prize, at $338 million before taxes, in March. He claimed the prize after settling a child support dispute with his ex-wife, which had made him subject to potential arrest.
In May the largest undivided Powerball jackpot ever – at $590.5 million – was drawn in Zephyrhills, Fla. It took 19 days for 84-year-old Gloria C. MacKenzie to come forward with her ticket.
The first confirmed winner from Wednesday's drawing, Paul White of Minneapolis, Minn., accepted an oversized check symbolically made out for $149 million on Thursday. He opted for a $86 million lump sum payment before taxes, and joked about proving his family wrong about his gambling habit.
"I don't want to work for anybody else for the rest of my life for a paycheck," White said at the Minnesota State Lottery's headquarters. "I think a lot of good things are going to come out of this, for not only my family and friends but for random people."