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California office pool claims $543 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot

Aug 3, 2018, 2:59 pm

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Mega Millions

By Todd Northrop

The California Lottery says last month's $543 million Mega Millions jackpot was won by 11 members of an office pool that played on a whim.

A Lottery statement Friday says Roland Reyes and the others showed up at its Hayward office on the east side of San Francisco Bay the day after the July 24 draw.

The members declined to say where they work, other than that it is in the financial industry and they plan to keep their jobs — despite winning $47.5 million each.

"It was spur of the moment. 'Hey, did you hear about the jackpot? We should play,'" one of the winners, Roland Reyes, told the California Lottery.

Everyone pitched in $2 and got a huge return on their investment.

The group declined to speak to media or be photographed. The pool members' ages range from 21 to 60.

"We want to keep our jobs," one winner said. "We love that company. We love what we've built there. We have a good time and want to stay together."

The group's total payout is $543 million over 29 years or a lump-sum option of $320.5 million. Both options are before taxes.

The winning ticket was sold at Ernie's Liquors in San Jose. Reyes said the group figured they had a better chance at winning if they bought their tickets from a small shop.

The owner of Ernie's Liquors received a $1 million bonus for selling the jackpot ticket, lottery officials said.

It's the second major lottery jackpot won in San Jose over the past few years. In 2013, a California delivery driver won half of a $648 million Mega Millions jackpot in the city. (See California delivery driver claims half of $648 million jackpot, Lottery Post, Jan. 3, 2014.)

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