Fortune Cookie Numbers Help N.C. Couple Win Second Jackpot

Wednesday August 19th 2015

Going out for Chinese proved to be very profitable for a Winston-Salem couple who grabbed their second Carolina Cash 5 jackpot in just four years. Bill and April Richee matched the winning line in the drawing held on Saturday, August 8th to win a cool $260,278, with April crediting their recent success to the scallion chicken and fortune cookie she ordered at a Chinese restaurant.

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“I’m usually not very lucky when I pick the numbers, so I have to give credit to the cookie,” she said to Fox 8 News. In 2011, she and her husband snapped up $117,416 on the same game using family birthdays for their numbers. At the time, they struck a deal with their friend William Epton, promising that if either he or the couple hit the jackpot again, they would give ten percent of the winnings to each other.

Epton accompanied the Richees to Raleigh as they picked up their check from the North Carolina Education Lottery, with the lucky couple taking home $162,218 after taxes. Epton also got a check of his own for $18,024. The Richees plan to buy a new car and save for their retirement. “We never thought we’d win again,” said Bill as they collected their winnings, “but we certainly hoped to. I’ve been friends with this guy [Epton] for more than 30 years. It’s great to be sitting here with him and collecting a big prize together. Maybe next time he can win and share with us.”

Fortune cookies, which often feature “lucky numbers” on the slips of paper nestled inside them, have often been used by lottery fans across America with a considerable degree of success. In March 2005, an astonishing 110 Powerball players snapped up second-tier prizes, 21 of which had used Power Play to boost their payout from $100,000 to a whopping $500,000. While officials first attributed the exceptionally high number of second-tier winners to either reporting errors or outright fraud, it soon came to light that each of the players involved had used numbers from fortune cookies produced by a New York company. Countless cookies contained slips of paper featuring the numbers 22, 28, 32, 33, 39 and 40 - had the last number been “42”, those 110 ticket holders could have split the jackpot of $25 million!

If you’re stopping to pick up some Chinese take-out anytime soon, pay close attention to that fortune cookie tucked underneath your orange chicken and fried rice - like the Richees, you could just have the key to a winning lottery ticket!

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