'Can't win it if you're not in it'
Tomorrow is Celeste Tamburello's 15-year anniversary at her job. It's also the day the new millionaire will put in her two weeks notice.
After buying a lottery ticket every week for the past eight years, Tamburello and her husband, Joseph, discovered Saturday night they bought the winning ticket to a $70 million Powerball jackpot.
Since they chose the lump sum option, the Tinton Falls, New Jersey, couple will take home $41.5 million before taxes.
"It's unbelievable," said Celeste Tamburello, 41. "I just never in a million years thought a $2 lottery ticket would turn into a $70 million Powerball ticket."
The couple bought the "quick pick" ticket at Little Silver Family Pharmacy last Sunday. On Friday night, Joseph Tamburello's sister called to tell them that's where the winning ticket to that Wednesday's jackpot had been sold.
Joseph Tamburello ran and got the ticket, while his wife pulled up the winning numbers.
One by one she read out the numbers. Each time, her husband said, "Got it."
Then she read out the powerball number, which was 6.
"He jumps up, said 'Oh my God it's us," she said. "We were just like screaming, the dogs were barking, my sister-in-law was crying."
They checked the ticket and re-checked it over the weekend, and showed up at lottery headquarters in Trenton this morning. They spoke briefly to reporters there this afternoon and were presented with a fictitious check for $70 million.
The couple, who have no children, have a few immediate plans to spend the money when they receive the real check in a few weeks.
"My wife wants a Cadillac," said Tamburello, 53. They also want to travel outside of the United States and take their family on a big vacation.
She works for Compass Group, a food services company, and will put in her two weeks notice tomorrow. He's a self-employed computer consultant and plans to scale back his work.
New Jersey is home to one other Powerball winner, Sandra McNeil, a Morristown resident who won $211 million on March 13, 2010.
Powerball is played in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot has hit $363 million, the third largest jackpot ever, in advance of a Tuesday night drawing, leading lottery officials to dub the season "March Madness."
Celeste Tamburello said she will be buying a ticket for the Mega Millions drawing as well, and doesn't plan to stop playing the lottery.
"You can't win it if you're not in it," she said.
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