Eight Women Claim $276 Million Powerball Lotto Ticket

The West Virginia Lottery was working Monday to confirm that eight women in the Monongalia County Sheriff's Department Tax Office hold a winning Powerball ticket worth $276.3 million.

Lottery spokeswoman Libby White said her agency has been in touch with the co-workers who claim to hold the ticket, which was sold at 5:14 p.m. Thursday at Paula's, a video poker bar in Westover located across the Monongahela River from Morgantown.

The ticket must be validated by the commission before the eight can be declared winners, White said. The Lottery has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Lottery Director John Musgrave talked Monday to Linda Fominko, the office's chief tax deputy, who is one of the eight. The office has 11 workers, but only eight contributed money to purchase tickets for Saturday's drawing.

"They have sought professional advice and seem to be well prepared," White said.

Crystal Magro was among the possible winners, her husband, Roger, told The Associated Press.

Magro said he and his wife were awakened at 2 a.m. Sunday with the news.

"I just thought, 'You're full of baloney,"' said Magro. "But she was adamant about it."

Magro said his wife will likely continue working in the tax office, along with Fominko. He resigned Monday after 27 years as a deputy in the sheriff's department.

"We're not in a hurry to run off anywhere, or do anything in particular," he said.

The other workers who contributed were Allecia Priore, Andrea Grey, Amanda Pugh, Judith Gapen, Paula Pride and Jessica Dotson, officials in the tax office confirmed.

The women declined interviews Monday, quietly serving taxpayers as sheriff's deputies kept watch.

If the ticket is validated, the eight would receive a lump sum payout of nearly $140 million -- or $139,421,731.44, to the penny -- before taxes.

After taxes, the payout would be $95.5 million, White said. If divided among eight winners, each person would receive $11,937,985.75.

White said the ticket holder has 180 days to cash in the ticket, and winners often opt to get their financial planning in order before claiming the prize.

Maria Skidmore, regional manager for the company that owns Paula's, said Monday that she planned to advertise the big win by placing a sign in a window at the parlor.

"We were glad it was in West Virginia," she said.

For selling the winning ticket, Paula's will receive $100,000, said Lottery spokeswoman Nancy Bulla.

This jackpot marks the seventh time a ticket sold in West Virginia has won Powerball. It is the seventh largest win in Powerball history and the largest win in West Virginia since December 2002, when Jack Whittaker won the $314.9 million jackpot, lottery officials said.

More than 1.5 million tickets were sold in West Virginia for Saturday's drawing.

The Lottery's Web site says nearly 2 million other players won prizes totaling more than $12 million.

The winning numbers were 6, 22, 42, 43 and 47. The Powerball was 16 and the Power Play was 2.

The estimated jackpot for Wednesday is $15 million.