State News

'Lottery freak' dad helps son win $88 million Powerball

Posted June 23, 2009

— Jeff Wilson, 27, has his "lottery freak" dad to thank for helping him win the $88 million Powerball. Wilson met the media Tuesday and talked about his winnings.

"I don't really know what to say. Does anybody have any questions?" he asked reporters as he timidly stepped in front of the cameras. "I don't know if I'm gonna wake up in a minute and it's gonna be a dream."

Jeff Wilson N.C. Powerball winner speaks about $88M jackpot

Wilson's dad, Bill Wilson, purchased the ticket at a gas station in Kings Mountain and was the only winner in Saturday's drawing. The ticket is worth $88 million. Jeff Wilson chose to take a lump-sum payment worth about $42 million. After taxes, he will get about $29 million.

While Jeff Wilson was shy and reserved in front of the cameras, his dad was outgoing and entertained the audience.

"I'm a lottery freak. See, I already have tomorrow night's drawing. Maybe I'll be back!" Bill Wilson said, holding up his tickets. "I told everybody for years I was going to hit it. Nobody ever believed me."

After buying the tickets Saturday night, "right before the deadline," Bill Wilson let his family members each pick one. Jeff Wilson picked the winning numbers, which his dad had played before.

"I buy the tickets. We lay them out. They get to pick which one. This time, he got the lucky one," Bill Wilson said.

When he checked the numbers at a convenience store the next day, Bill Wilson almost hit the ceiling. "The lady tells me, 'You're about to shake to death. So, don't go home.' I said, 'Hey, I'm going home,'" he recalled.

He could not wait to break the news to his son.

"I haven't had a chance to wrap my head around everything," Jeff Wilson said Tuesday.

When asked what he planned to do with the money, Jeff Wilson said he wasn't sure, then rattled off a couple ideas: go on a vacation, share some with his family and possibly donate to a children's hospital.

"My dad's the one that bought the ticket, so I guess I gotta share with him," he said with a laugh.

Jeff Wilson said he's not concerned about old acquaintances asking him for money.

"I know how to change my phone number and move," he said with a smile.

Jeff Wilson previously worked as a real estate broker. He has been accepted and still plans to attend graduate school in August. He did not want to identify the school.

"I need to find a job," he said.

A North Carolina ticket also won the Powerball in November 2006, when Jackie Alston of Halifax got a jackpot of $74 million.

123 Comments

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  • theroadislong Jun 24, 9:28 a.m.

    Superman, I'm with you on that one, lol! I know that chances of winning the lottery are very slim. People waste so much money on tickets. My dad won $100 not too long ago from a scratch of ticket, but it means nothing to me because I know he's spent waaay more than $100 on tickets in the past. And he thinks he won? Nah, he's still in the hole, lol.

  • delilahk2000 Jun 23, 6:47 p.m.

    It is a shame he gets less than half, so where will this money be spent BEV, the schools should get all of it, but I bet she will spend it on useless stuff as always!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • superman Jun 23, 5:35 p.m.

    Probably 100% of the people who buy the tickets are just so sure they going to win. And then there are those that pray to win thinking some devine power is going to act in their behalf. Then there are others like me, who know they not going to win and dont throw their money away.

  • StormMaster Jun 23, 4:58 p.m.

    First, Congatulations! Jeff. Second, get a good tax lawyer and tax accountant. Make sure the taxes are paid so you don;t get a suprise at year end. The money is considered ordinary income this year and the amounts that are withheld may not reflect your true tax rate.

    Third, learn the word "NO!"

    Fourth, consider the stability of our banking system and the lack or moral fiber of so many inventment firms and bankers. Don't put you nest eg in one basket.

  • saturn5 Jun 23, 4:54 p.m.

    People don't seem to understand how the lottery and taxes work.
    The $88M jackpot was the value of the payouts over the years. He chose to take the lump sum value which is $42M - that is what the annuity is valued at today.

    So his prize was $42M. Then after taxes he gets $29M. He paid $13M in taxes. He doesn't claim the $29M as income. He claims the $42M, and the taxes on it are taken out in advance.

  • tarheel1008 Jun 23, 4:53 p.m.

    I don't think those of you who are blaming the government understand how the 29 of 88 million dollars is calculated. 88 million dollars is not the present value, it is the future value of that money over a period of something like twenty-six years if you opt an annuity. Instead, the present value is about 1/2 of that, and then that 1/2 is taxed.

  • saturn5 Jun 23, 4:51 p.m.

    Good for Jeff. I hope he uses the money wisely and makes it work for him rather than becoming a slave to it.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Jun 23, 4:50 p.m.

    I wonder how many women find him extremely hot right now.

  • Chemgrad Jun 23, 4:43 p.m.

    Jeff was taxed at a rate of around 31% which is low when you look at the personal taxes that are payed in other countries around the world. Of course those countries with higher tax rates generally provide more services like universal health care, less than 40 hour work week, long term maternity and paternity leave, convenient and plentiful public transportation, and 4-6 weeks of yearly vacation. So maybe our taxes are high considering we don't have any of these benefits.

  • myrtlebeachrock Jun 23, 4:33 p.m.

    Save some of that moeny and draw interest! Congrads on it! If you come to Myrtle Beach I'll take you to the Masters Club! lol

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