Mega Millions Harlem Powerball Jackpots Winner Claims $343M Prize

Patch reports that Harlem man came forward Wednesday to claim his share of one of the largest Powerball jackpots ever recorded. Robert Bailey, a 67-year-old retired federal government worker, opted to take the lump sum cash payment of his $343.8 million prize, which means $125 million will end up in his bank account after taxes.

Bailey and 51-year-old Lerynne West of Iowa struck it rich on October 27, 2018 when the Powerball numbers read 8, 12, 13, 19, 27 with the red Powerball 4 and the “power play” number of 3.

The Harlem winner said Wednesday that it took him more than two weeks to claim his prize because he was meeting with legal and financial advisers.

“I want to do the right thing and take care of it for the next generation of my family That’s why I went to a lawyer and financial adviser first to sit down with them and talk about business.”

Bailey said Wednesday that won’t let money change him and that the first thing he plans to buy is a house and some land either in New York State or down south. He’s also planning a vacation either to Las Vegas or the Bahamas, the jackpot winner said during a press conference Resorts World Casino in Jamaica, Queens.

The Harlem resident also said that he has a number of charities in mind for donations, but will have to sit down and think about which causes to support.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are one in 292 million, but Bailey said he believes he will win every time he plays the lottery.

“I am blessed,” Bailey said Wednesday. “Why not me? I always played, sometimes I get a quick pick, but I played my regular numbers.”

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Bailey has been playing the same Powerball numbers for 25 years, he said Wednesday. A family member gave him the lucky numbers 8, 12, 13, 19, 27 and 40, but Bailey had to change 40 to 4 for the Powerball.

The winning ticket was sold at the West Harlem Deli on Fifth Avenue and West 126th Street. Bailey said that the bodega isn’t his usual store, but that he ducked in on a rainy Saturday to play his numbers.

When Bailey checked the results on the night of the draw, he was in shock, he said Wednesday.

“When I saw the eight and the 12 I was in shock — woah — I looked and I kept going across. And I didn’t notice the Powerball, I thought I had five numbers,” Bailey said. “And sure enough I was blessed, when I saw the four I was just in shock.”

Bailey said he didn’t call anybody to let them know he hit the jackpot, and instead spent the next day watching the New York Jets and thinking about what he is going to do with the money.

“I am still in shock, but I’m happy and also I’ve just been totally blessed,” Baily said. “I’m taking my time to let it sink in.”

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

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