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Birthday Numbers Ace $8.4 Million For Watauga Couple
(Jackpot Advertised at $18 Million)
Oct 29, 2004 - As on numerous other occasions in the history of the Games of Texas, birthday numbers again proved to be just the ticket. Birthday numbers used by the Jean and Paul Bass Family Limited Partnership, James Paul Bass, general partner, matched the five numbers and the bonus ball drawn in the $18 million Lotto Texas drawing on October 16.
"Birthday numbers continue to rank at the top of the list of self-selected numbers our players use," said Texas Lottery Commission Executive Director Reagan E. Greer said. "Watauga has proven to be a true winning town, too. It's no wonder the winners were so surprised. The Bass Family Limited Partnership is the fourth from this North Texas city to match their ticket to our Lotto drawing numbers. In a town the size of Watauga, with more than 22,000 in population, scoring a jackpot isn't just big news; it's unbelievable."
That's how Jean Bass felt when she realized her ticket matched the numbers she was reading on the newspaper.
"I was doing my normal Monday morning routine, drinking coffee and reading the newspaper when I saw them," Bass said. "I couldn't believe it, and then I started yelling. My husband had a vacation day so he was home. He ran to the kitchen, he thought the house was on fire."
Jean says Paul is a pragmatic man. He quickly put the ticket in a safe place, the identity of which they wouldn't reveal until they came to Lottery headquarters in Austin.
"My husband put it in a tin in the gun safe, that's built with cement in it, so it's really secure," she said. "Even though it was in a safe place, Paul's been staying up nights worrying about what could happen to the ticket. He even thought a rat could get in the safe and eat it."
To ensure that they knew what their ticket looked like, the Basses took photos of it, but didn't develop them right away.
"The Walgreen's is just blocks away, but I didn't want to have the photos developed just yet," Jean said. "Then everybody there would know we had what we thought might be a winning ticket."
Jean and Paul have been faithful Lottery players since the Games of Texas began.
"We play every Wednesday and Saturday, without fail, when we get our to-go dinners," she said. "My husband's real practical about buying tickets, but I tell him, 'You can't win it if you're not in it.'"
The Basses are planning for retirement already. She has been a waitress at the Marriott Courtyard for the last 10 years. Paul is a supervisor in a repair shop.
"I know I will miss my job, I've met people from all around the world," she said. "I used to tell everybody that I was going to win, and it happened."
While the Basses contemplate retirement, they've already decided what to do with their prize.
We want to leave our children and grandchildren in a good situation," she said. "Paul and I are each going to buy a new car because we need them, and we're thinking that we might also buy a new home. We're going to take it easy first, though, because it's all been happening too fast since we figured out that our ticket had the matching numbers.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for us," she said. "We want to try to make it fun and enjoy it as much as we can."
The Cash Value Option prize value of the advertised $18 million jackpot is $11,219,244, before taxes. After taxes, the couple netted $8,414,434.
Jean Bass bought her tickets at the 7-Eleven #1631-27374, 7001 Rufe Snow, in Watauga. The store is eligible to receive a bonus of one percent of the advertised jackpot, $180,000.
"Before the October 16 drawing, there were three other jackpot-winning tickets sold in Watauga," Greer said. "The first and second were in July of 1996, when one ticket, purchased at Albertson's #4267 and a second ticket purchased at another 7-Eleven, each took a quarter share of what coincidentally also was an $18 million jackpot. In December of 2002, another ticket sold at the Albertson's #4193 matched the numbers drawn for a Lotto jackpot of $4 million."
The numbers drawn on October 16 were 8-21-25-28-18 Bonus 21.
San Antonio Partnership Claims $21,574,091
Oct 12, 2004 - EFRAOLCA, Ltd. of San Antonio today claimed $21,574,091, the cash value option amount for the $36 million Lotto Texas jackpot drawing held September 8, 2004.
"We love playing Lotto Texas, but we never expected to win this big" said Efrain Angueira, general partner of EFRAOLCA, Ltd. "It's really the only game we play, and we don't plan to give it up now."
"Congratulations to EFRAOLCA for its big Lotto Texas win. As a native San Antonian, I'm always excited to see winners from my hometown," said Reagan E. Greer, Executive Director of the Texas Lottery. "After more than 12 years, Lotto Texas is still as popular as ever and jackpots like the one claimed today are a big reason our players remain excited about the game."
The ticket was purchased at the Babcock Chevron located at 6392 Babcock in San Antonio. The retailer is eligible to receive a bonus of one percent of the advertised jackpot, capped at $500,000.
The partnership requested minimum publicity.
The numbers were 8-11-21-36-41 Bonus 23.
Vietnamese Man Claims $62 Million
($46.5 Million After Taxes)
Oct 4, 2004 - Ut Van Nguyen of Carrollton has the rare privilege of being the first Texas winner of a Mega Millions jackpot. And what a jackpot it was on Friday night ... $101 million IF paid out over 26 years.
"This is truly an exciting day for Mr. Nguyen and all of us here at the Texas Lottery," said Texas Lottery Commission Executive Director Reagan E. Greer said. "This is the kind of thing that creates a lot of excitement for our players, and reaffirms what a great fit Mega Millions is for Texas. We've finally got our first Mega Millions jackpot winner and Mr. Nguyen has a Cash Value Option prize of more than $62 million that I know he plans to use wisely."
Nguyen wasted no time in coming to collect his prize. He and his family got in the car at 6 a.m. today and didn't stop until they got to Lottery headquarters in Austin.
"I found out Saturday morning at the supermarket when the manager there told me somebody in Carrollton won," Nguyen said. "I got a winning numbers printout and quickly saw that I had two of the numbers. When I got home, I picked up the ticket that I had left on the table. Oh my God, I said, Oh my God."
His daughter Jennifer was still sleeping when she heard commotion in the living room.
"I could hear him crying, and I thought to myself, my God, what's wrong with him," she said. "When I walked out there, he was standing there hugging my mother and crying like a baby."
Nguyen also wasn't sure what was happening to him.
"My heart was beating really fast for a long time and I couldn't stop crying," the winner said. "Then, I don't know what happened until I called my nephew, Tuan, in Florida and told him to drop everything and come to Texas. He's going to stay in Texas now."
Nguyen plans to use his money to help with the construction of a religious temple near Duncanville. Additionally, he and his family will return to Viet Nam to help other relatives, as well as build a school and assist the orphanage in the area they're visiting.
"Where we come from, the school is too far away to walk to," he said. "So I want to get a school built so the children will receive an education."
This isn't the first time Nguyen wins a lottery prize. Years ago, he won $40,000 dong, or $20 (US) in the Vietnamese lottery.
"Every week, I buy tickets," he said. "On Wednesdays, I buy five dollars-worth of Lotto. On Fridays, I buy five of Mega Millions."
Nguyen spoke mostly through another nephew, Phan Tran.
"I don't know yet what I'm going to do tomorrow," he said. "I haven't been able to think that far ahead."
Nguyen purchased his Quick Pick tickets (the TLC web site says the ticket was a self picked ticket so I don't know for sure what it was - but I will find out.) at the Sack N Save #204, 1235 S. Josey Lane, Suite 600. The store is eligible to receive a bonus of $1 million for having sold the ticket to Mr. Nguyen.
"We always say that people really do win when they play the Games of Texas, and Mr. Nguyen is living proof of that," said Greer. "It was a long wait for our first Mega Millions jackpot winner in Texas, but it won't be the last. I'm sure Mr. Nguyen can testify, it was definitely worth the wait."
The Cash Value Option amount was $62,060,880 less taxes - an est $15.5 million - were deducted. The prize amount is determined by how much the TLC would have to invest to get a return of $101 million over 26 years. There was $62,150,196 in the prize pool - this is how much was allocated from sales for the jackpot prize winner.
Texas joined the Mega Millions multi-state lottery last December. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are one in 135,145,920. The odds of winning the second-tier prize are one in 2,649, 920.
Since December 3, combined total sales of Mega Millions and the Megaplier have been $235,431,916, with a combined total of $75,454,202 million of that transferred to the Foundation School Fund.
The winning numbers were 17-10-8-24-39 Bonus 52.
- Big Secret In A Small Town -
Texas 2 Step Players Collects 1.1 Million
Oct 4, 2004 - Alejandro O. Leos of Marfa, population 2024, did what might seem impossible; he kept the news about being the $1.1 million Texas Two Step winner a secret in what definitely qualifies as a small town.
"People kept telling me that they thought I was the winner," Leos said. "But I told them, 'I'm not a winner-yet.'"
The store where he purchased three Texas Two Step tickets and two Cash Five tickets sold a total of 13 Texas Two Step tickets for the drawing on Monday, September 20. In a town the size of Marfa, the retailer and practically everyone else knew who the ticket buyers were.
"There's quite a difference between being a claimant and being a winner and Mr. Leos was sharp enough to make the distinction, so he didn't lie," said Texas Lottery Commission Executive Director Reagan E. Greer said. "It's been since mid-March that we had a Texas Two Step jackpot in the million-dollar range, so this jackpot caused a lot of excitement, most especially in Marfa."
Leos said he was able to keep his "winning" status a secret, even though there were several occasions when he was almost tricked into revealing the truth.
The winner is in charge of animal control in Marfa. He likes to say that he's the dogcatcher, but he does more than that. He's the one to call when a skunk or a raccoon is in the back yard when they shouldn't be. He also deals with lost animals.
"The only person I told other than my family was my boss, Police Chief Guadalupe Cataño," he said. "Two reporters called me over to the paper to pick up a dog, but they were just trying to find out if I was the winner. There was no dog."
When Leos told his children, Alex, Eddie and Grace, that he won, they weren't sure what he was saying.
"I called them on the phone, and when I told them I'd won the Texas Two Step prize, they asked me what Texas Two Step was," he said. "There was silence on the other end each time I told them I won $1.1 million."
Leos said he kept the ticket at the bank in a safety deposit box most of the time between the drawing and today. "For a week, Lola, my wife, put the ticket between the mattresses. Then we took it to the bank. I kept the $2 I won on the Cash Five tickets I bought. I contacted attorney Roy Ferguson, and I'm very grateful to him for all his help."
He said he plans to use his prize to help his family members pay their debts.
"I hope the owner of the store where I bought the ticket really does share his prize with his employees, the way he said he would," Leos said.
The Town N Country #246, 818 West San Antonio, sold the winning Quick Pick ticket. The store is eligible to receive a bonus of one percent of the prize, which comes to $110,000.
The winning numbers were 16-24-4-2, and the Bonus Ball was 28.