News

‘Ocean’s 16′ Discuss Powerball Windfall

Winners From New Jersey County Include Lottery Founder's Daughter

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The New Jersey lottery winners dubbed “Ocean’s 16″ were officially introduced to the world Tuesday, including six people impacted by Hurricane Sandy and the daughter of a legislator who wrote the law creating the New Jersey Lottery

The group of co-workers from the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department held one of three winning tickets in last week’s $448 million Powerball drawing. After taxes, each of them will get $3.8 million.

The workers appeared at a news conference Tuesday in Toms River, a little more than a mile away from the county government motor pool where almost all of them say they intend to continue working, at least for now.

The event came one day after the group posed for the cameras and claimed their winnings.

The group, of course, took their name from the movie “Ocean’s 11.” And as CBS News’ Erica Ferrari reported, they admitted that their lottery win sounded like the stuff of a movie.

“Nobody would buy this story because they’d say it’s not true,” said winner Judith Liebowitz Drucker.

The group has been playing together for about six years.

“When I found out we were winners, I was speechless,” said Darlene Riccio.

The Brick Township house Riccio and her daughter had been renting was wrecked by the October storm, and they have been living with relatives.

“It has been an extremely rough year since then,” she said. “The first thing I’m going to do is buy me and my daughter a house, and bring my dog home.”

William Seeley, who said a tree fell on his home, was one of the few winners who said he may retire now.

“We are happy, happy, happy!” he said. “I’m going to continue to watch NASCAR races on Sunday. Maybe I’ll be at a log cabin on multiple acres of land.”

Seeley said his windfall came in the midst of a family tragedy, and can fund some hope.

“I lost my mom to cancer, and my dad’s going through it right now, and that was the first place where I stopped was pop’s house – started crying in front of him, and told him I loved him, and, ‘You’ve got nothing to worry about now except getting better,’” he said.

He and most of the other winners did not reveal their hometowns, and the New Jersey Lottery Commission also would not provide them.

“We are truly blessed for what we received,” said Brian McCarthy, another of the winners. “It’s been truly great.”

The players chose the cash option, taking a lump-sum payout immediately that generally cuts the value of the jackpot in half. They let the lottery terminal computer randomly select their numbers.

Barbara Jo Riivald initially forgot that her recently deceased father, state Sen. John F. Brown, wrote the law creating the New Jersey Lottery. It took a phone call from her sister to make the connection once the winning numbers were drawn.

“When we actually hit this lottery, I – not even in my mind did I remember my father was the father of this lottery,” Riivald said. “When I called my sister to tell her, she said: ‘Oh my gosh, Barb. Dad is just smiling down.’ She said, ‘It’s his lottery.’”

She said the lottery win was bittersweet in that both her parents died within a short time.

“The only thing I wanted to do was pick up the phone and call him and her,” Riivald said. “And I couldn’t.”

The ticket, purchased at a supermarket in Little Egg Harbor, was one of three winners in last week’s Powerball drawing. A suburban Minneapolis man, project engineer Paul White, claimed one of the Powerball prizes last week. The holder of the third winning ticket, sold in South Brunswick, N.J., has not yet come forward.

Lisa Presutto chose the supermarket to buy the 48 tickets for her group because she had dropped off a prescription previously with the store’s pharmacy. When she saw the winning numbers drawn, she said she began shaking, and walked down the hallway to her bedroom, intent on rousing her still-sleeping husband to verify that she had the winning numbers.

“I had to wake up my poor husband — who is no longer poor,” she said.

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