Nov. 25, 2014 – The first-ever winners of a top prize on the New Jersey Lottery’s new Cash4Life game claimed their jackpot Tuesday afternoon at New Jersey Lottery headquarters, about two weeks after the big win.
Joseph Ianiro and John Opaluch from Hasbrouck, New Jersey were the lucky winners. Their Cash4Life ticket matched all six winning numbers drawn Thurs., Nov. 13: 7, 8, 16, 49, 56 and the Cash Ball was 4.
Ianiro said he bought the ticket at Nick’s Quick Stop, located at 183 Boulevard in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. The lucky winner said he frequently plays the lottery but not normally at that store, which he’s walked by for years.
Recent renovations by the store’s new owners must have drawn him in. He spoke with the new owner, Guy Bernice, then bought the lucky Cash4Life ticket, playing the same numbers as always, which he told the N.J. Lottery were personally significant.
Ianiro and Opaluch learned of their luck while watching the news and eating dinner. According to a Lottery press release, Ianiro started jumping and screaming during a particular news report, and at first Opaluch thought the news story had brought him to his feet.
But he soon heard the truth: Ianiro’s winning Cash4Life numbers had scrolled across the bottom of the screen. After a brief and uncertain search for the winning ticket – Ianiro began to think he hadn’t purchased his lucky numbers that day – they found their lucky ticket.
While the top prize for Cash4Life is $1,000 per day for life, the winners chose to take the $7 million cash option for their prize, which will be worth about $5 million after taxes.
Ianiro told members of the media and the New Jersey Lottery that he had one specific plan for his windfall: he’ll donate some of the money to an addiction services organization that helped a close friend of his.
Ianiro said that friend recently celebrated 25 years of sobriety, saying that if he ever won the lottery, he’d give back to the organization that helped him.
After the big Cash4Life win, Ianiro is making good on that lottery wish.
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