North Carolina family claims its half of $114 million jackpot

RELEASE DATE: 10/12/2011

RALEIGH – North Carolina’s newest jackpot winners are members of a Greenville, N.C. family who claimed today their half of the Sept. 30 Mega Millions jackpot worth $114 million.

Half of the jackpot, $57 million, goes to James Jones, a retired banker from Greenville, and his two daughters, Allan Jones of Greenville, and Kimberly Jones, a high school teacher from Buford, Ga. The family chose the lump sum option rather than the annuity and will receive $42.2 million. After taxes were withheld, James Jones received $20 million and Kimberly Jones and Allan Jones received $4.3 million each.

“For my family, it will mean the ability to finish the education of our grandchildren and their grandchildren” said James Jones. “For my daughters, it will certainly mean a less stressful financial life and the ability to follow their life ambitions. As for my wife and I, it will certainly not change much in our lives as we now live comfortably and have no needs or want for many more worldly things.”

Jones said the family plans to invest and save the money for “future generations” and support worthy charities.

Jones bought five $2 Mega Millions tickets on the Friday afternoon before the drawing was held. He discovered he had matched all five white balls and the Mega ball on Saturday morning.

“Unbelievable,” said Jones of the feeling when he discovered his good luck. “It was truly unbelievable. After I had checked enough to convince myself I really had won, it was exciting. And a little bit scary.”

The family held one of two winning tickets that split the prize. The other ticket was sold in California, with that share of the jackpot still yet to be claimed.

North Carolina has been lucky in winning jackpots in the nation’s two multistate jackpot games – Mega Millions and Powerball. Five jackpots have been won in North Carolina since the N.C. Education Lottery began five years ago. The Jones family’s jackpot win was the second in the Mega Millions game since it began here on Jan. 31, 2010. Mike Manheim, a retired businessman from Greensboro, won a $12 million Mega Millions jackpot on May 28, 2010.

The three Powerball jackpot winners were Jackie Alston of Halifax who won $74.5 million in November 2006; Jeff Wilson of Kings Mountain who won $88.1 million in June 2009; and Frank Griffin of Asheville who won $141.4 million in February 2010.

Mega Millions and Powerball provide lottery players the chance to enter four jackpot drawings each week. Mega Millions drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays and Powerball drawings are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot are one in 175 million.

The jackpot for tonight’s Powerball drawing is an estimated $86 million as an annuity or $53.9 million if taken as a lump sum. The jackpot for Friday’s Mega Millions drawing is $30 million or $21.7 if taken as a lump sum.

Sales of tickets in the jackpot games help support the lottery’s mission of raising money for education in North Carolina. Since the Education Lottery began in March 2006, more than $2 billion in education dollars have been raised. By law, lottery funds benefit teacher salaries, school construction, need-based college scholarships and prekindergarten programs.