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Pennsylvania judge and friends win $291M Powerball jackpot

PowerballPowerball: Pennsylvania judge and friends win $291M Powerball jackpot
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Bought ticket while vacationing in Florida

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — After a long ride back from his annual Florida vacation, Senior District Judge James Stocklas had enjoyed the sun and fun, but was anxious to get back home to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

After parking his RV in the driveway, Stocklas caught a few hours sleep and awoke Friday morning with plans to visit his favorite Bethlehem diner. While at breakfast, he pulled out his cellphone to see if anyone had won massive Powerball lottery.

His jaw dropped when he saw there was only one winning ticket that had been purchased in the same Florida town where Stocklas bought ice and $10 in tickets to share with two friends.

When Stocklas checked the numbers, he couldn't stop shaking. He had a match. He and his friends had just won more than $291 million.

"I was yelling and I bought everyone in the diner breakfast," Stocklas said. "When I found out, I was shaking for an hour straight."

The other winners are a local woman, whom Stocklas declined to identify, and Barry Bartakovits, who owns a pool business in Hellertown.

"This is like an amazing roller coaster ride," said Stocklas, who was back in Florida on Friday night.

After taxes, Stocklas said the three friends will have more than $40 million each.

The friends decided they had to immediately get to Florida to lay claim to their winnings and Stocklas called to rent a private jet.

When he found out the cost was $3,000 an hour — a total bill expected to ring up around $20,000 — Stocklas made his first big lottery purchase.

The friends bought several bottles of chilled champagne to share on the way down.

Much of the day was a blur of signing papers and watching their winnings winnow down with taxes, and on Friday night, Stocklas and the friends found themselves at an Applebee's restaurant for a quick bite before flying back home.

"I know, Applebee's," Stocklas chuckled. "We are really going top shelf, right?"

Stocklas serves as a senior district judge in Northampton County and said that won't change. He's already told court administrators he'll return to the courtroom April 1, no April Fool's joke.

"Oh, I'll be back on the bench," Stocklas said. "There's no doubt."

He said he'll use the money to help his family and set up several trust funds. He would also like to donate some of the money to charities.

He never expected a routine stop at a convenience store for some ice and lottery tickets could change his and his friends' lives forever.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," Stocklas said. "I don't think I'm going to get much sleep tonight."

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

Thanks to Raven62 and sandia for the tip.

Morning Call

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50 comments. Last comment 9 months ago by rcbbuckeye.
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BuyLow's avatar - palm tree.jpg
Florida
United States
Member #61435
May 22, 2008
906 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 6, 2016, 8:58 am - IP Logged

Love the fact he chartered a private jet and then they ate at Applebees lol!!

 

Congrats to them!!

    rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
    Texas
    United States
    Member #55889
    October 23, 2007
    5588 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: March 6, 2016, 9:12 am - IP Logged

    I had to laugh. A guy from PA winning PB in Florida!

    You just never know when or where, or who.

    I wonder how long til negative nellies bemoan that his name is out and he chartered a jet, yada, yada, yada. LOL.

    CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

    A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

      OldSchoolPa's avatar - Lottery-057.jpg
      Gurnee, Illinois
      United States
      Member #49731
      February 12, 2007
      917 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 6, 2016, 9:41 am - IP Logged

      He could probably already afford to fly by chartered jet given that he owns a RV and is a Senior District Judge.  I never bemoan how other people spend their money but good luck on that plan to remain on the bench and in the community...he will be hounded to no end for handouts.

       

      Personally, I would fly commercial flight to nearest city to lottery headquarters and then rent my own vehicle.  I figure commercial flying is the safest way to go and driving myself is definitely safer than relying on a driver.  I would have no problem with my name being published but I would not allow myself to be photographed without something covering up my body.  Why I just might show up to claim my prize wearing a burqa...and I am a man!

      Get MONEY!!! Winning a JACKPOT lottery is all the HOPE and CHANGE I desire!!!  NOW give me MONEY!US Flag

      The guy who won the presidency in 2008 really won the lottery...he is now millions richer, travels in first class style, and even has a staff that would be the envy of the richest Powerball winner (she has a staff of 2). Every night he goes to sleep, he probably plays the close of Dave Chappelle's Show: I'm rich beyatch!

        Artist77's avatar - batman14

        United States
        Member #121745
        January 16, 2012
        4784 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 6, 2016, 11:14 am - IP Logged

        Did they split it evenly?

        J'aime La France.

          schmuckatelly's avatar - half planet.jpg
          Jacksonville, Florida
          United States
          Member #140364
          March 17, 2013
          195 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: March 6, 2016, 11:17 am - IP Logged

          I love the $7.00 check, lol!

          Jan Powerball pool contributions -$194 + $38 win = - $156 Net;  Feb -$320 TBD

            duckman's avatar - ducklogodrake64x64
            Jacksonville Florida
            United States
            Member #23018
            October 6, 2005
            915 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: March 6, 2016, 11:57 am - IP Logged

            Another Quick Pick wins big. No system - just luck!

              Avatar
              New Member

              United States
              Member #77979
              August 4, 2009
              5 Posts
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              Posted: March 6, 2016, 1:00 pm - IP Logged

              I agree old school papa

                Avatar

                United States
                Member #164725
                March 12, 2015
                341 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 6, 2016, 2:02 pm - IP Logged

                I had originally read that the winner was a one line quick pick. Looks like the judge bought $10 worth of tickets or 5 lines.  I think I would have just booked first class.

                  music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
                  Happy California
                  United States
                  Member #157856
                  August 2, 2014
                  1507 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 6, 2016, 2:47 pm - IP Logged

                   Congratulations to Senior District Judge in North Hampton County James Stocklas!!!

                  James, Barry Bartakovits and an unidentified woman wasted no time in getting to Tallahasee, Florida. No lawyers, no guards, no CPA, no CFP, no media specialist, no insurance agent.

                   I see how being a Judge brings you closer to Law Enforcement. Help is a phone call away.

                   I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

                   Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

                    golfer1960's avatar - Lottery-003.jpg
                    Eatontown, NJ
                    United States
                    Member #119670
                    November 29, 2011
                    740 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: March 6, 2016, 2:59 pm - IP Logged

                    Another Quick Pick wins big. No system - just luck!

                    Yes, QP's are lucky. I need some luck now too.

                      Avatar
                      Akron, Ohio
                      United States
                      Member #145647
                      August 10, 2013
                      36 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: March 6, 2016, 4:10 pm - IP Logged

                      This seems like a inside Fraud to me!!! No wonder why Cynthia O Connell got canned I'm not playing anymore they cheating and the Michael Tipton case blew the cover off the whole MUSL fraud operation fake winners!! #rigged

                        xstreamgaming15's avatar - 41M8sCXM8YL _SY300_.jpg
                        SoCal
                        United States
                        Member #170973
                        December 25, 2015
                        30 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: March 6, 2016, 6:38 pm - IP Logged

                        It's nice that a group of friends won the $292 Mil Powerball Jackpot then just a sole individual. A little over forty million after taxes everyone gets a big piece of the pie.

                          sweetie7398's avatar - flower2
                          South Carolina
                          United States
                          Member #22702
                          September 30, 2005
                          3033 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: March 6, 2016, 6:42 pm - IP Logged

                          Congratulations!!!

                          Life, love, family Love

                            Avatar
                            Simpsonville
                            United States
                            Member #163189
                            January 22, 2015
                            667 Posts
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                            Posted: March 6, 2016, 6:53 pm - IP Logged

                            It's nice that a group of friends won the $292 Mil Powerball Jackpot then just a sole individual. A little over forty million after taxes everyone gets a big piece of the pie.

                            Is Florida like Kentucky and Indiana in the fact that the latter two states will cut separate checks?  This relieves the purchaser of a huge tax burden, everyone pays their own taxes thanks to these lotteries.