Texas Lottery & Mega Millions
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Last Revised: Wednesday, June 18, 2008
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Ex-con claims Mega Millions jackpot
The Grand Rapids Press
Fred Topous shows up on three State of Michigan Web sites. Today, the Kent City man headlines the state lottery Web page, winner of Friday's $57 million Mega Millions prize.
"I want to enjoy a little bit of life," Michigan's newest millionaire told state lottery officials Tuesday. "We're plain folks. We've struggled all our lives."
He also is listed on two other state Web sites -- the State Public Sex Offender Registry and the state Department of Corrections offender profile.
Those pages name Frederick A. Topous Jr. for three felony convictions in Grand Traverse County. He was released from corrections oversight in 2006 for the most recent, a 1999 attempted sexual assault conviction.
"He's had some tough breaks," friend and co-worker Jan Westcott said Tuesday night. "I know some of his secrets, and he knows some of mine. I'm not going any further."
Topous, 45, did not return voice messages left by The Press on his cell phone after the award was announced Tuesday night.
He claimed the Mega Millions prize in Lansing Tuesday, the seventh-largest jackpot in Michigan lottery history. He chose to collect the alternative $34 million lump-sum payment, and told lottery officials he didn't know until driving home from work Monday that he won.
At Party World in Alpine Township, where the winning ticket was sold, the announcement ended the mystery as to which customer had won.
"He seemed like a nice guy anyway," said clerk Andy Bekins, whose family owns the Comstock Park store.
Added clerk Rob Antor, "He was never in a bad mood. He just picked up his beer and shot the breeze."
State records show Topous was discharged from state oversight in October 2006. He lived in Kentwood until late November and had been renting the top floor of an old farmhouse that co-worker Rick Westcott's family owned on Peach Ridge Avenue near Kent City.
Westcott, 48, said Topous picked up his wife and two of his children early Tuesday, then planned to collect his father, who has cancer and lives elsewhere in Michigan, and take a long vacation, he said.
"They were heading to Lansing this morning, and then he said they were going to be gone for a while, " said Westcott, who worked with Topous at Structural Standards in Sparta. "Can you blame him?"
Westcott and his brother, Jan, 49, both worked for the past year with Topous and often played poker late into the night at the farmhouse.
The three were playing Friday night during the Mega Millions drawing. They did not watch the drawing -- Topous did not yet realize he'd won -- and the Westcott brothers cleaned him out at the poker table.
Topous thought he'd had an unlucky night.
"He was a millionaire already," said Rick Westcott about the winning ticket, one of five he said Topous bought "on a whim" when he stopped by Party World to buy the latest beer special.
Topous pleaded guilty to breaking-and-entering in Grand Traverse County in 1984 and again in 1988, according to corrections records, and was discharged from state supervision in 1996.
In 1999, Topous pleaded guilty in Grand Traverse County to attempted criminal sexual conduct with intent to commit penetration, the records say. He was sentenced to 5 1/2 to 10 years in prison and was released from state oversight in October 2006. Topous must register as a sex offender until 2024, according to registry records.
Details of the three crimes were not immediately available. The Press also could not reach Lottery Commissioner M. Scott Bowen or spokeswoman Andi Brancato for comment late Tuesday.
"We're always happy to make someone a millionaire, and we wish Mr. Topous and his family all the best," Bowen said in a statement announcing the win.
Topous told lottery officials he plans to buy a house for his family and put his three children through college.
"We thought we were going to end up working until we died, but not any more," Topous told lottery officials.
"Now I don't have to wait until Friday to get groceries or put gas in the truck."
Good-bye Ford, hello Mega Millions
Detroit Free Press
(Posted 5/19/08) April 3, 2008 - The metro man who won the $135-million Mega Millions jackpot Tuesday is quitting his job at Ford Motor Co. after 34 years and plans to reward some of the friends who have played the lottery with him in the past. But outside the Redford Township service station that sold the winning ticket, David Snead of Livonia told Free Press reporting partner WDIV-TV Local 4 that his family comes first.
Snead, 60, standing with shop owner Tarek Saad and a group of friends outside the Mobil gas station on Joy Road, told Local 4 he learned he had won Wednesday morning.
His reaction? "Oh, my God, I won this. Oh, God."
Among celebratory shouts from the assembled crowd, Snead said he planned to give $1 million to each of the four people in his regular lottery group. Snead said this time he played the numbers by himself and his son bought the ticket.
"It's amazing. ... God's been good to me."
Morris teachers claim $49.5 million Mega Millions lottery prize
(Posted 5/19/08) Friday, January 04, 2008 - A group of teachers and secretaries from Morris Knolls High School -- calling themselves the "Lucky 12" -- took a bus ride to Trenton this afternoon and turned in a winning lottery ticket for some $45 million in Mega Millions money, lottery officials said today.
The group won half of the $163 million jackpot from the Dec. 18th Mega Millions drawing. They bought the ticket at a Wharton convenience store and chose the cash option, which means they will receive about $49.5 million before 25 percent is taken in federal taxes.
Morris Knolls staff member Gretchen Gannon, spokeswoman for the winners, thanked the school community for its support.
"This has been an exciting and memorable experience for all involved," Gannon said in a statement released by the New Jersey Lottery. "We all take great pride in our school and our 'Golden Eagle' students--and we'd like to thank them as well, because our students have been absolutely terrific throughout this entire wonderful adventure.
"However, before we were winners, we were members of the Morris County educational community. We're grateful for all the attention, but we're going to quietly go back to doing what we do best--preparing the young men and women of our High School to become the community leaders of tomorrow."
As reported in the Star Ledger on Thursday, the buzz has been building at Morris Knolls High School in Denville all week, with several staffers and the superintendent confirming that the winners were, in fact, in the building. The winners themselves would not come forward publicly, but their colleagues said they all came to school on Wednesday, the first day of classes after the holiday recess.
Teachers also said the group included several veteran teachers who were close to retirement age.
Staffers said the weekly pooling together of money for the lottery is a tradition at the school that has gone on for at least 13 years. In 1994, 22 workers from the school -- which serves Denville, the Rockaways and Wharton -- made headlines when they won a $5.9 million pot.
Just six months after the teachers won in 1994, 18 members of the Denville police force bought the winning ticket for a $27.2 million jackpot.
"I have to admit, this afternoon was a bit of a shock," William T. Jourdain, acting executive director of the New Jersey Lottery said in a statement, "I'm working at my desk, and suddenly there's a bus outside of my office--not exactly the average Friday, even for the Lottery.
"While I'm watching, some very happy people got off the bus and came into our offices. We all sat down, went through the necessary procedures, and a few moments ago, several even happier people--now a few million dollars richer--left our offices. Truly an exciting day all around!"
Him: 'I think this one's the winner.' Her: 'Yeah, right.'
Waseca couple Paul and Sue Rosenau attended the first news conference of their lives Tuesday, accompanied by their first entourage, including an accountant, lawyer and bodyguard. That's what happens when you hit the largest Powerball jackpot ever won in Minnesota.
The big fake check at the Minnesota State Lottery presentation said $180.1 million, although the couple opted to take the $88 million cash option $59.6 million after taxes instead of the $180.1 million 30-year annuity payment.
Here's what the Rosenaus, both 54, had to say to the usual array of questions tossed at overnight millionaires.
How they got the winner:
"I once in a while will buy a ticket," said Paul Rosenau, who bought the winner with a Quick Pick number of 2-28-36-42-46, plus the Powerball number 40, on Friday at a Hy-Vee Gas in Faribault. The couple's accountant, Dale DeRaad, said Rosenau likes to fill up there because they have a coupon deal on Fridays.
How they learned they might have won:
The couple were in their pajamas watching the Sunday night news when the winning ticket number was announced.
"I said, 'Oh, my gosh,' " Rosenau said. "I think this one's the winner. She said, 'Oh, yeah, right,' because I've done that before."
How they convinced themselves they had won:
They dressed and went to Sue Rosenau's office to check the number on the Internet. They don't have online access at home. "Now we might get it," Paul Rosenau said.
Sue Rosenau found the Web site and read off the numbers.
"She said, 'Oh, my gosh,' but not in those words," he said.
They didn't sleep that night. Monday, Rosenau checked the numbers in the newspaper. He had a glass of orange juice and checked the number again. He had a piece of toast and checked once more.
"It kind of went like that for about an hour," he said.
Then he called his accountant. "I said, 'Dale, I've got a problem. It's not a bad problem, but I've a got a problem, and I need your help.' "
He showed the accountant the newspaper and ticket.
"I said, 'If you notice, those two numbers seem to match, and I don't know what to do.' "
What were they doing for a living and will they keep on doing it:
They plan to keep working, Paul as a heavy equipment operator for BCM Grading and Excavating Co. in Faribault, and Sue as a project and communications assistant for Agricultural Utilization Research Institute in Waseca.
"I love what I do," Paul Rosenau said.
What will they do with the money:
They're still trying to decide. DeRaad said the couple probably will set up some sort of foundation.
"We don't need a lot," Paul Rosenau said.
They don't plan
"We're pretty close" to owning their home, he said. "I think we can pay it off."
DeRaad said the couple got their phone number unlisted and plan to be out of town for a few weeks. "People are going to come out of the woodwork," De-Raad said.
Paul Rosenau said he'll still mow his lawn. He said the couple takes vacations in Mexico because it's inexpensive.
"We see what other people have," he said. "For all the complaining people in the United States do, they should keep their mouth shut."
He said his wife has never been to Hawaii. "I've got a feeling we may go," he said.
The couple have three adult children and a grandchild who was born April 28.
"It's been a wild week," Sue Rosenau said.
Another grandchild died at age 2 of Krabbe disease, a rare inherited degenerative disorder. She died five years ago on the same date the Rosenaus won the lottery.
"We believe in a little divine intervention," Sue Rosenau said.
Do they think the money will change their lives:
"We hope it doesn't. We like it the way it is," said Paul Rosenau, as he started to tear up with emotion. "Money is probably not as important as friendship and helping others."
$13 MILLION LOTTO TEXAS SOLD IN PHARR CLAIMED
The ticket was sold in Pharr.
Purchased with the Cash Value Option, the ticket provided the winner a one-time lump sum payment of $8,644,766, before taxes.
The numbers drawn were 11, 22, 40, 27, 33, 2.
The ticket was bought at the Stripes located at 8001 South Jackson in Pharr.
The retailer is eligible to receive a bonus of $130,000, which is one percent of the advertised jackpot for this drawing.
Mega Millions winner says he's having an out of body experience
Detroit Free Press
David Sneath of Livonia said he still hadnt returned to Earth Thursday, after winning the $136 million Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday -- April Fools' Day and his 60th birthday.
Im having an out of body experience, he told reporters, as he met with state lottery commissioner Scott Bowen. Sneath will take a lump sum payment of about $59 million after taxes, instead of the entire jackpot over 20 years. Its Michigans third largest lottery jackpot ever.
Sneath, a jocular hi-lo driver, had his son buy $15 worth of Mega Millions tickets using numbers Sneath picked at random. The tickets were purchased at a Mobil gas station on the corner of Joy and Inkster roads in Redford Township. Sneath read his winning numbers Wednesday in a newspaper at a Ford Motor Co. parts warehouse in Brownstown Township, where hes worked 34 years.
I yelled out, Im a winner, I won the lotto, Senath said. I couldnt believe it. I went to my locker, I yelled to my boss, Hey, Im done, Im outta here.'
Sneath said hes begun the paperwork for retirement.
He said hell give $1 million cash to each of four work buddies who usually pooled $30 among them each week for lottery tickers. This time, Sneath bought his tickets alone, but said he wants to share his luck with his four friends.
His only other immediate plan is to buy a cottage on Mullett Lake near Cheboygan in northern Michigan, and a fishing boat. Maybe a couple boats.
I like to fish, he said.
TOLBERT FAMILY TRUST CLAIMS SHARE
JM HALE, LP, CLAIMS ONE OF TWO LOTTO TEXAS JACKPOT PRIZES
The claimant requested minimal publicity.
The Tom Thumb located at 14280 Marsh Lane in Addison is eligible to receive a $143,234 retailer bonus for selling the winning ticket.
Mega Millions Couple is model for fellow lotto winners
The Illinois woman knew on Dec. 18, the winning lottery ticket she held would change her life. On March 19, she was claiming an oversized check from the state and answering questions from news media.
That the winner picked up the $81.5 million prize, her half of a $163 million Mega Millions jackpot drawing, is a big deal.
That it took three months is a rarity. She spent the time to work with lawyers and financial advisers to maintain anonymity and protect assets -- something the state lottery agency wants other potential winners to note.
Sporting large sunglasses, the winner, a pharmacist, came forward, but she refused to provide her name or where she lived. An occasional player, she bought the winning ticket at a gas station at 851 S. Sutton Rd. in Streamwood.
"I came back home. My husband said, 'Let me check your ticket,' " she said. A quick confirmation through an Internet site and the two were screaming in delight. "It was a shocking moment."
The first step wasn't to get the money. A family member referred them to Wood Dale attorney Terry Zimmer, who assembled an advisory team, including estate planner Richard Kuenster.
"I told her get an unlisted number A.S.A.P.," Kuenster said.
The team helped the family create the JYS Family Limited Partnership and put together entities to keep the winner's identity from the public, and shield the money from some taxes, creditors and frivolous lawsuits while providing for her, her husband, children and any future grandchildren, Kuenster said.
"We're so proud of them for taking that time," said acting Illinois Lottery Superintendent Jodie Winnett. "What a sharp winner we have in Illinois and we hope that the rest of our community will hear this and that they'll take a deep breath and consider protecting themselves."
Other Winners Stories
- Sad but True Winners Stories - Click here
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Store Owners and Employees Admit Stealing
$100,000 Powerball Ticket ...
More Texas Winners Stories, Click Here
To Obtain Information on Texas Winners
Many winners set up trusts, partnerships and corporations
when they win the lotto. If you want more information
on the enity that claimed the jackpot, all you have to do
is make an open records request through the Comptrollers
office or the Secretary of State.
Secretary of State:
From the Secretary of State, request "copies of the
articles that have been filed" or a copy
of the "Corporate Detail Screen."
Phone: ; Fax:
For General Questions Call
Corporate Info - -
Click the link on the left sidebar that says,
"Corporations and Other Business Organizations"
This is also where you can read the Texas Register.This is
the publication that TX state agencies use to post rule changes and
just all kinds of legal postings. Just click on "Texas Register" to
Comptroller of Public Accounts
From the Comptroller's office, request a copy of the
"PIR on file for (name of trust, llc, l.p. etc)"
Austin, Texas 78711