Saturday November 30 2013 â€“ The owner of New Yorkâ€™s first jackpot winning Powerball ticket in more than 20 months has still not claimed their prize, despite knowing they have won the epic jackpot.
Salah Al-Sulaimani, owner of Roccoâ€™s Bakery which sold the winning ticket for the draw on November 16, says the ticket holder had contacted him by telephone several days after the draw to tell him their good news (read more about that here). Although initially sceptical, Sulaimani believed the individual when New York Lottery officials contacted him to confirm the story.
Owner Salah Al-Sulaimani outside Roccos Bakery. (Image Tom Maisel, NY Daily News)
â€œThe person is very nice and they could use the money,â€ Sulaimani said when questioned by NY Daily News reporters last week. â€œI wish them nothing but blessings and good luck in their life, only positive things instead of the negativity that come with this kind of thing.â€ Sulaimani has refused to give away details regarding the identity of the winner, except to say they are local and a regular customer.
Not only did Sulaimani receive $10,000 from the New York Lottery for selling the winning ticket, he has also seen sales of lottery tickets boom since getting his own 15 minutes of fame. â€œIâ€™m like a local celebrity,â€ he laughed. â€œItâ€™s busy, weâ€™ve definitely been selling more tickets. Itâ€™s been a very positive experience for us.â€
So Where Is The Winner?
There could be any number of reasons why the jackpot winner hasnâ€™t claimed the prize yet, although the most likely is that they are getting comprehensive legal and financial advice on how to handle the $130 million windfall.
For example, jackpot winners can choose to claim their winnings via a trust fund or company, which requires complex legal paperwork. The entity has to be set up and ready to receive the funds prior to the jackpot being claimed.
Alternatively, the ticket holder could be the manager of a syndicate, meaning the funds have to be distributed amongst several people. In this case, they all have to agree how to claim the jackpot â€“ cash or annuity â€“ and will all need individual representation, in addition to group representation.
There is also the issue of anonymity. It is mandatory for New York lottery winners of $1 million or above to release their name to the media, although they can choose to stay out of the public eye. However, even if they turn down press releases and interviews, once their name has been released their contact details can be found easily, which could subject the winner to phone calls, letters or messages on social networking sites begging for cash.
Therfore, a priority for the new winner could be to make their digital and online footprint as small as possible â€“ by changing to a new unlisted phone number, deleting their social media profiles and changing email addresses. The winner could even be considering moving in the short term, to avoid the unwanted attention that a claim can bring.
Whatever the situation of the mystery New York Powerball winner, we at LotteryWorld applaud winners who approach their newfound wealth with caution. Getting all your ducks in a row before the money lands in your checking account is vital to ensuring that you live a long, happy life as a lottery winner. Whoever the winner is, we look forward to meeting them once they are good and ready.