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Immigrant battling cancer among trio who won $1.326 billion Powerball ticket: Oregon Lottery

todayApril 29, 2024

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Catherine McQueen/Getty Images

(SALEM, Ore.) — The winners of the $1.326 billion Powerball ticket were officially revealed by the Oregon Lottery on Monday.

During a press conference at the Oregon Lottery Headquarters in Salem, Oregon, husband and wife Cheng and Duanpen Saephan and their friend Laiza Chao were announced as the winners of the massive lottery drawn earlier this month.

Cheng Saephan, an immigrant from Laos living in Portland, explained how life-changing the lottery win is amid his eight-year cancer battle.

“I’m happy for my family, they will have a good life,” Saephan said during the press conference. “I’m battling cancer so thinking how am I going to spend all the money,” he said, adding that he can now find a “good doctor” and that he and his wife plan to buy a home with their lump-sum winnings.

Saephan immigrated to America in 1994 and used to work in aerospace.

He and his wife and their friend, Laiza Chao, bought 20 Powerball tickets in hopes of winning the jackpot.

“I call Laiza as she’s driving to work, I told her you don’t have to go to work now; we won the lottery; we won the jackpot!” Saephan recalled during the press conference.

The staggering $1.326 billion Powerball ticket was the fourth-largest Powerball jackpot in history and the eighth-largest among U.S. jackpot games, according to the Oregon Lottery.

On April 6, a lucky ticket matching all six Powerball numbers was sold at the Plaid Pantry convenience store in Portland, Oregon, the state’s lottery announced at the time.

The numbers drawn for the jackpot were 22, 27, 44, 52 and 69, with a Powerball of 9, the lottery said.

“This is our first winner on this scale, so this is very exciting for us,” Melanie Mesaros, spokesperson for the Oregon Lottery told ABC News on April 7.

The lottery winners have the opportunity to accept a lump cash sum of $621 million or receive annual payouts of the $1.3 billion, also pre-tax — starting with one immediate payment followed by 29 annual payments that increase by 5% each year, the lottery said.

The jackpot is subject to federal taxes and state taxes in Oregon.

The Plaid Pantry location in northeast Portland will also receive a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket, according to the lottery.

“Plaid Pantry is thrilled to learn that one of our 104 Oregon stores sold the $1.3 billion dollar Powerball ticket,” Plaid Pantry President and CEO Jonathan Polonsky said in a statement to the Oregon Lottery. “This store is one of our newest and most loved stores. Proceeds from the Oregon Lottery fund many programs that benefit everyone in the state, and we’ve been a proud partner with the Oregon Lottery since the very beginning.”

The individuals with the winning $1.326 billion ticket came forward on April 8 and underwent a vetting process before their identity was announced.

“This is an unprecedented jackpot win for Oregon Lottery,” Oregon Lottery Director Mike Wells said in a press release on April 8. “We’re taking every precaution to verify the winner before awarding the prize money, which will take time.”

The Powerball jackpot previously ballooned to an estimated $1.3 billion ahead of the April 6 drawing after a record-tying streak with no jackpot winner.

The Powerball hasn’t been won since Jan. 1, when a ticket sold in Michigan claimed a $842.4 million jackpot.

In 2022, the largest U.S. lottery jackpot, worth $2.04 billion, was won in California.

Powerball is a multi-state jackpot operated by 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, according to Oregon Lottery.

Powerball tickets are $2 per play and the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, according to Powerball.
 

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