The winner of a $315.3 million New Jersey Powerball jackpot — the third largest single-winning ticket in the state’s history — is an African immigrant whose son urged him for years to quit wasting money on lottery tickets, he said Friday.
“Father knew best,” Tayeb Souami, a 56-year-old accountant from Little Ferry, quipped.
Souami, a father of two who came to the US in 1996, will take home a cash payout of $183.2 million before taxes, he said at a press conference in Trenton.
“I’m very emotional right now in front of you,” he said tearing up. “I am lucky.”
Souami was returning a $5 carton of orange juice at a ShopRite on South River Street in Hackensack when he bought the winning lottery ticket on May 19. He chose numbers 3, 6, 9, 17, 56 and the Powerball 25.
The next day, he took the ticket to a 7-Eleven clerk — whose jaw dropped as she scanned the ticket.
“She kept saying, ‘Oh my God!” Souami said. “My heart was just beating, beating, beating [fast].”
It took him two hours just to fill out the lottery forms because his hands were shaking, he said.
Souami has played the lottery for 21 years, but his 20-year-old son, Imel, has long urged him to stop, citing slim chances of winning.
Souami now plans to pay off his house mortgage and use the money to pay for college for his kids, he said.
“My day has come,” he said at the press conference. “I hope one day it’s going to come to for you, too.”
New Jersey’s biggest ever single-winning Powerball jackpot was sold to Pearlie Mae Smith, 70, in April 2016. She won $429.6 million.
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