Ah, vacations. A time to escape from the daily grind and relax at the beach. Watch the sunset every day with a cocktail in hand and play the lottery. Play the lottery on vacation? Of course! One man turned his vacation into a life-changing event with a single Powerball ticket purchase.
Charge: Winning it all – Verdict: Guilty
So a judge wins Powerball jackpot while vacationing in Florida… It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it’s real life for James Stocklas. The senior district judge from Bethlehem, PA drove down to the Florida Keys to soak up some sun with his brother Bob.
After a long day on the sandy Floridian beaches, Bob and James stopped into a convenience store where James bought some ice and $10 worth of Powerball tickets for the 2 March draw for himself and two friends back in Pennsylvania. They promised to go in on the tickets together and split any prizes.
James drove back to Bethlehem in his RV, a journey which takes more than a day with stops. Because he was on the road, it wasn’t until after he arrived back in Pennsylvania and was having breakfast at his go-to local diner that Stocklas checked to see if the jackpot had fallen.
When he read that a single ticket sold in the same place he bought his tickets had won the $291.4 million jackpot, he grabbed his tickets and excitedly compared the numbers. Shaking with shock, Stocklas started shouting that he won and bought everyone’s breakfast.
Stocklas then contacted the two friends that formed the mini-syndicate and informed them that they were now all multi-millionaires. The other two winners are Barry Bartakovits, a business owner in Hellertown, PA and an identified woman who wishes to remain anonymous at the moment.
Their first big purchase? The three friends took a private jet to Florida to claim their jackpot money in person. Total cost: $20,000. They spent the flight drinking champagne and dreaming of how to spend their millions. The three friends will take home over $40 million per person after taxes.
In a cute twist, James and Ben Stocklas both bought winning tickets in Florida. James got lucky with his $291.4 million ticket and Ben went home with $7. Florida Lottery had huge cardboard cheques made up for an adorable brotherly photo-op.
Want to join in on the Powerball fun? You don’t have to go on holiday to become a Powerball winner. Buy official US Powerball lottery tickets online from wherever you are, regardless of country of residence by clicking the Play Now button at the top of this page. Enjoy all the US Powerball lottery has to offer from the comfort of your own home – or from your vacation address! Best of luck!