Group of 12 NC coworkers wins $150,000 Powerball prize

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RALEIGH, N.C. — They work together, they play the lottery together and now a group of 12 medical center coworkers is celebrating a $150,000 Powerball prize together, according to the North Carolina Education lottery.

Every week, for the last six years, they’ve pooled their money to get Powerball tickets. They call themselves the Fantastic 12.

“We each put in three dollars,” said Laurie Ellsworth, of New Bern. “If we win something, we reinvest it the next week.”

Keeping with tradition, Ellsworth collected the money from her co-workers and stopped at the Circle K on New Bern Highway in Jacksonville and bought Powerball tickets for the Nov. 16 drawing.

She checked the tickets three days later using the NC Education Lottery Official Mobile App.

“When I saw that we won, I started screaming,” Ellsworth said. “I thought we’d won $30,000, but then Will checked the numbers again and said we’d actually won $150,000. I had to call the lottery just to make sure we weren’t seeing things.”

“I was pretty shocked when I saw the numbers,” said William Cotton, of New Bern. “It was pure excitement.”

They rushed to share the good news by calling and texting the rest of the group. Not everyone believed them at first.

“I thought they were pulling a prank,” said Stanford Weaver of New Bern. “It wasn’t until I saw the ticket for myself that I believed it.”

The co-workers claimed their prize Wednesday at lottery headquarters.

They split the prize, and after required state and federal tax withholdings, they took home $8,840 with Ellsworth getting $8,883.

The group has a variety of different plans for the money.

Some plan to pay off bills and invest. Others plan to start college funds for their children. One even plans to get a new kayak with his share of the money.

The winning ticket matched numbers on four of the white balls and the Powerball to win $50,000. The prize tripled when the 3X multiplier was drawn.

The ticket beat odds of one in 913,129. The jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball drawing is $130 million or $89.6 million cash.

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