Posted: February 15, 2018
By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
ALBERTA, Canada —
A couple in Canada can now start rebuilding their lives after they were big winners in the Atlantic Lottery.
Bill Pendergast and his wife accepted a $1 million check this month, nearly two years after their home and all their belongings were destroyed in a wildfire.
The May 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire destroyed their home, along with about 10 percent of the Alberta, Canada, town, the BBC reported.
Pendergast was recently visiting his sick father in Newfoundland, who ask him to get a soda at a store, the BBC reported. He bought a ticket at the local gas station on a whim. The next morning, he found out he was a new millionaire, CNN reported. He then called his wife, who hopped on a plane to Newfoundland to help her husband cash in on his newfound money, CNN reported.
The money, the couple said, will be used mostly to help put the pieces back together, including finishing construction on their new home, CBC reported.
“Our rebuild should be finished in the next two to four months, so this is going to go a long way towards that,” Pendergast told CBC.
The family, including the couple’s five sons, is also going to take a family vacation, CBC reported.
But there is one thing the lucky winner always wanted that will now become a reality.
“I have always wanted a Mustang, and I will finally have one, I’m 100% sure of that,” Pendergast told CNN.
An upstate New York man lost his battle with cancer weeks after cashing in on a $1 million lottery jackpot.
Donald Savastano, of Sidney, New York, was a self-employed carpenter who said he didn’t have a retirement plan when he got the windfall, Newsday reported.
He had hoped to buy a new truck, pay off his debt and invest the rest when he won the scratch off ticket prize in December.
Savastano also said he planned on seeing a doctor because he didn’t have health insurance and couldn’t afford it, WABC reported.
He apparently had not been feeling well, WABC reported.
Savastano, 51, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Fox News reported.
He died Friday, only 23 days after winning his jackpot, according to WABC.
A Florida store clerk is accused of stealing a man’s $600 winning lottery ticket and giving him $5 instead.
Crystelle Yvette Baton works at a Winn-Dixie Liquors store in Fort Myers. On Monday she was arrested for larceny grand theft after keeping a winning lottery ticket, WBBH reported.
The man, who she thought was a customer, was actually an undercover agent for the Florida Lottery Commission’s security division, according to WBBH.
After scanning the ticket and seeing it was worth $600, Baton allegedly took $5 out of her purse and gave it to the man. Baton kept the winning ticket, which was later found in her notebook, WBBH reported.
Lee County Sheriff’s investigators told WBBH that this incident was part of an integrity investigation where the Lottery Commission randomly visits to stores to ensure the game is being played correctly.
Read more at WBBH.
It has been a difficult year for a Michigan woman, who has struggled to pay the bills while taking care of her mother full time.
Shawna Donnelly said she was even facing the prospect of being homeless, but her luck changed dramatically when she won $25,000 a year for life in a Michigan Lottery game on Jan. 15, WDIV reported.
Donnelly, 50, from Clarkston, matched the five balls drawn to win the big prize in the Lucky For Life game.
“I woke up in the middle of the night and had a feeling I should check my tickets,” Donnelly told WDIV. “When I saw I matched five numbers, I must have refreshed my phone 100 times to make sure I really won.
"The last year has been the most difficult of my life. I've been taking care of my mom full-time, and it's hard to make ends meet. Winning this prize couldn't have come at a better time.”
Donnelly decided to take the prize in a one-lump sum of $390,000, instead of taking annuity payments, WDIV said. She visited the Michigan Lottery headquarters Monday to claim her prize.
Donnelly told WDIV that she plans to buy a new home and car, and then save the remaining balance.
A tradition of playing Powerball together led a group of 10 North Carolina coworkers to a $200,000 lottery win.
“We’ve been playing the Powerball every week for the last three years,” Ronald Lute of Lincolnton said. “We each pitch in $10 and get our tickets.”
On Jan. 20, Lute stopped by Bob’s Superette in Lincolnton and got tickets for him and his fellow Ethan Allen employees, WSOC reported.
Dale Hedrick of Newton was the first one to realize they had a winning ticket.
“I checked my phone Sunday morning,” Hedrick said. “I just kept looking at the numbers. I looked at them so many times, I memorized them.”
Hedrick immediately called Lute to tell him, but he didn’t answer, so he called Anthony Rowe of Conover instead.
“I couldn’t believe we actually won something after playing all these years,” Rowe said.
Eric Dellinger of Lincoln was the last to find out. He didn’t learn about the win until three days later.
“I was on vacation,” Dellinger explained. “I didn’t answer my phone because I thought it was work. I couldn’t believe it when I finally found out. It’s exciting.”
Dennis Setzer Jr. of Sherrills Ford, Roger Smith from Lincoln, Matthew Hedrick from Catawba, Randy Jones from Lincolnton, Randy Heavner from Lincolnton and Johnny Moss from Newton are the other co-workers who won.
The group claimed their prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh, WSOC reported.
After required state and federal tax withholdings, they each took home $14,100. They all said they plan to save the money or use it to pay bills.
The winning ticket beat odds of one in 913,129. It matched the numbers on the four white balls and the Powerball to win $50,000. Because the ticket had the $1 Power Play feature, the prize quadrupled to $200,000 when the 4X multiplier was drawn.
A New Hampshire woman who won the $560 million Powerball jackpot is fighting in court to remain anonymous.
The winning ticket was sold last month at the Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack.
The woman who bought the ticket doesn’t want to be identified due to safety concerns, The Union Leader reported, even though she signed the back of it.
New Hampshire Lottery Commission rules require a winner sign the ticket before being able to claim a prize.
If she had signed the back of the ticket with the name of a trust, she could have maintained her privacy. However, her attorney, Steven Gordon, wrote in court filings obtained by The Union Leader that she didn’t realize she had that option until after the fact.
“Her attorney asked if she could ‘white out’ her name in front of lottery officials and replace it with the trust, but was told any alteration would invalidate the ticket and she'd lose $560 million,” the newspaper reported.
The lottery executive director said those rules are in place for security reasons.
The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
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