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North Carolina retiree wins $344.6 million lottery jackpot using fortune cookie numbers

Jun 6, 2019, 10:34 am

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Includes video report

North Carolina lottery officials Tuesday evening revealed that a Cumberland County man was the winner of the $344.6 million Powerball ticket that was purchased in Hope Mills.

The winner, Charles W. Jackson Jr., was revealed at a news conference at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the North Carolina Education Lottery Headquarters in Raleigh.

Jackson, 66, has elected to take a lump sum payment of $223 million, which amounts to an after-tax payment of $158 million according to lottery officials. 

"I never expected to win, so I just got lucky," Jackson said during a news conference.

The massive jackpot is the 19th-largest jackpot in the Powerball game's history, and overall the 33rd-largest jackpot of any lottery game in US history. The cash value is the 32nd-largest lottery lump-sum cash value of all time in the US.

During the news conference, he said plans to give some money to St. Jude's, Shriner's Hospital and the Wounded Warrior Project.

"I didn't know it until this morning. I didn't see the last digit — I thought I had just won $50,000," Jackson said.

He called his wife to tell her that they needed to go to Raleigh to collect the money and only realized later he won the full amount.

"After I hung up with her I jumped back in there and looked — and I said "dang I got em all'," he said.

Jackson said he had to use Google to find out how much the ticket was worth after his wife asked him, and he didn't know.

Jackson said he picked his winner numbers partially from a fortune cookie at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Jackson is already retired — he previously had a military store on Riley Road near Fort Bragg.

"You play to win — but you don't ever expect to win," he said.  "It still hasn't come over me yet how much — all that money."

Jackson said he planned to give $1 million to his brother.

The winning ticket was sold at Carlie C's in Hope Mills.

Lottery officials said it's the largest jackpot ever won in North Carolina involving a single ticket. It's the fifth time a North Carolina ticket claimed a Powerball jackpot.

VIDEO: Watch the press conference

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

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