16 N.Y. biotech workers claim $58M Mega Millions jackpot

Apr 30, 2015, 4:11 pm (48 comments)

New York Lottery

A group of 16 workers at a Manhattan biotech company who pooled their cash to buy Mega Millions tickets have claimed a $58 million jackpot from the March 24 drawing.

The ceremonial prize check was presented to the group Thursday at the store where they bought the winning Quick Pick Millions ticket: Carlton Cards in Penn Plaza.

The lucky winners said it took a few hours of checking, double-checking, and triple-checking their tickets before they believed their fantastic fortune.

The 16 include residents of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, as well as workers from New Jersey and California. They will split a ?lump-sum cash payment of $38,334,435, with each winner receiving $1.65 million after taxes, according to state lottery officials.

"We went from one person's computer to another's checking each person's scan of the ticket because we wanted to be absolutely sure," recalled Evelyn Harrison, chief operating officer of Opthotech Corporation in Penn Plaza, where workers have been playing the lottery together since 2010.

Each week, the pool members would chip in $4 and take turns purchasing a set of multistate lottery tickets, using a different store each week.

This time, the "Lucky 16 Trust," as they're calling themselves, did their purchasing on March 24 at Carlton Cards, just two levels down and around the corner from their Penn Plaza offices.

"There was a lot of buzz around the office following the drawing as everyone learned the jackpot winner was sold in our building," Harrison said. "A few of us decided we should probably check our numbers."

But the proof on the first few computer screens didn't stop them from checking the winning numbers back and forth, computer to computer, out of disbelief, Harrison said.

"Once we were convinced, we sent an email to everyone else to tell them to check out the winning numbers for themselves," she remembered.

"As you can imagine, we were all in a little bit of disbelief," added winner Kevin Berth of Hainesport, N.J. "Not everyone was in the office at the same time, so it took a little while for everyone to get the news."

When all doubt was finally dispelled, the Lucky 16 Trust met in a conference room to let the news sink in — and do some jumping around.

"There was a lot of energy in that room," said another winner, Opthotech employee Matthew Jung of Edgewater, N.J.

"We told ourselves to focus on work like nothing had happened. But something did happen," Jung said. "And, to be honest, we didn't accomplish a lot that day."

The winners' plans for the money range from paying off school loans and mortgages to investing for retirement.

The group has pledged to look out for one another, Harrison said.

"We're a small group," she said. "We ground each other. We won't let anyone get carried away."

Carlton Cards — which sold a $1 million Powerball jackpot ticket in 2010 — will get a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning Mega Millions winning ticket, according to lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman.

"I am happy that somebody won the ticket," store manager Jay Patel, 69, of East Brunswick, said Thursday.

"And I heard that there are more than one [winner] and that's very good, too! We have lots of winners every month in this store. I think it's a lucky store!" he laughed.

The store on the bottom floor of the busy transit hub has become the unofficial Lottery gaming center of New York; more Lottery tickets have been sold there than at any other location in the state, records show.

Carlton Cards is decorated with signs proclaiming big Lottery wins — including two $1 million jackpots — at the shop.  Now the store will be adding a sign for a $58 million lottery jackpot win.

The winning numbers were 2, 23, 32, 45, and 55, with Mega Ball number 12.

The sixteen winners are:

  • Walesca Ayala of the Bronx, N.Y.
  • William Barber of Hackensack, N.J.
  • Kevin Berth of Hainesport, N.J.
  • Desiree Beutelspacher fo Venice, Calif.
  • Valerie Chiong of Union City, N.J.
  • Sonia Cruz of the Bronx, N.Y.
  • Janice Graboso of New Brunswick, N.J.
  • Evelyn Harrison of West New York, N.J.
  • Matthew Jung of Edgewater, N.J.
  • Natasha Malik of Long Island City, N.Y.
  • Harvey Masonson of Accord, N.Y.
  • Natasha Moore of Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Yordak Salermo of Manhattan, N.Y.
  • Samantha Scroxton of Jersey City
  • Denise Teuber of Manhattan, N.Y.
  • Lillian Vazquez of Jersey City, N.J.

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

Lottery Post Staff


zephbe's avatarzephbe

This is great--a group of co-workers sharing the win!  Congratulations to you all. :)

Technut's avatarTechnut

Congrats to the lucky Prize Pool Players and your good fortune. (c8

maringoman's avatarmaringoman

Each week, the pool members would chip in $4 and take turns purchasing a set of multistate lottery tickets, using a different store each week

32 tickets per draw. Nice! I wonder if there were some coworkers who dropped out of the pool after months of nothing but losers. *shudders*

ThatScaryChick's avatarThatScaryChick

Congrats to the lucky group!

hearsetrax's avatarhearsetrax


It's been awhile since a Pool claimed the Top Prize. Congratulations. .Party

mypiemaster's avatarmypiemaster

Congrats to the Lucky 16 Trust. Hmm, I wonder why they are hiding under glasses and or hats. Could it be because deep inside, they don't want any publicity?.

Gleno's avatarGleno

Congrats to the lucky 16 winners.

Might they  be LP players since they seem to like the idea of wearing hats and glasses as a disguise?

Great to see 8 winners from NJ  here as well, not to mention Jay Patel from East Brunswick NJ who is the manager at Carlton Cards. 

 The pool was a good size, the $4.00 price kept the cheap skates out, and different people bought the tickets week from week. Lots of participation from the members.

Sure do miss those lottery pools at work.

Thumbs Up


Is Carlton Cards one of those famed and somewhat criticized stores? Or was that another store in Penn Station?

I see the hats and glasses and drab clothing make for nice disguises, my favorite is the lady to the right second row withe the ginormous Kentucky Derby hat.


group of 16 seemed pretty jovial even though they only won 1.65 m each. an amount that most on here sneer at. most wouldn't even play for an amount that low. it just shows you can't sit around and wait for the 200 million or more jackpots to grow before you play. there are only 104 drawings a year and given the average age of lottery players you can't afford to miss even one. totally against pools as nothing but problems permeate from them. this group seems to have a good grip though. can't image production at the workplace is going to go up as incentive will wane if they stay. of course they will because 1.65 million just doesn't go very far these days.

Coin Toss's avatarCoin Toss

"The 16 include residents of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, as well as workers from New Jersey and California."

Well that should throw some here into a hissy fit!

mrbg's avatarmrbg

Congrats to them

Saylorgirl's avatarSaylorgirl

Congratulations to the Lucky 16!  Have fun and enjoy!  Next time I am in New York I think I shall purchase my tickets at Carlton Cards in Penn Station!

myturn's avatarmyturn


I can't wait for bio- printing!

Subscribe to this news story