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Winston-Salem couple uses fortune cookie to win second Cash 5 jackpot

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WINSTON-SALEM — Bill and April Richee of Winston-Salem claimed their second Carolina Cash 5 jackpot in four years on Monday, winning $260,278 in the Aug. 8 drawing. The first time, Bill used a series of numbers based on family birthdays to win big. This time, the winning numbers came from a more unlikely place.

“The funny thing is, the numbers I chose came from a fortune cookie I’d recently got from a Chinese restaurant,” April said. “I’m not usually very lucky when I pick the numbers, so I have to give the credit to the cookie. I guess that scallion chicken brought me some good luck.”

Back in 2011, High Point resident William Epton witnessed his friends Bill and April win $117,416 playing Carolina Cash 5. After that, they made a pact that if any of them ever won big again, they would share 10 percent with the other.

The Richees made good on that promise on Monday. After their latest win, they brought Epton to Raleigh to share the big winner experience.

“We never thought that we’d win again,” Bill said. “But we’d certainly hoped to. I’ve been friends with this guy for more than 30 years. It’s great to be sitting here with him and collecting a big prize together. Maybe next time he can win and share with us.”

The Richees purchased the lucky $1 ticket at Tar Heel Tobacco on South Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem. They learned of the big win the morning after the drawing when Bill checked the winning numbers on the lottery’s website.

“Now let me start by saying I am not a dancer,” Bill said. “But I was that day. I hopped right up and started dancing around. Then I woke up April to tell her the news before I called William.”

After state and federal taxes were withheld, the Richees received a total of $162,218. Epton received a check for $18,024.

“We are using some of the money to buy a new Honda HR-V,” April said.

“But the rest is going to retirement,” Bill added. “We’re very excited to win again. It feels fantastic.”

Epton did not share plans for his winnings. The odds of winning a Cash 5 jackpot are 1 in 575,757.