North Carolina Man Wins Big on Mega Millions With Fortune Cookie Numbers

Thursday May 14th 2020

Charlotte man Claude Guezodje got a sweet deal when he won a $2 million Mega Millions prize using numbers from a fortune cookie.

His ticket matched all five main white balls in the April 21 draw - 13, 15, 24, 67, and 70 - only missing the Mega Ball number, 17.

The Mega Millions "Match 5" second prize is $1 million, but since Guezdoje added Megaplier to his ticket for an extra dollar, his win was doubled when the 2X Megaplier was drawn. He was one of two lucky $2 million winners in the April 21 drawing.

Guezodje bought his winning ticket at the BP Mini Mart on Bessemer City Road in Gastonia on the way to his highway construction job on I-85 and U.S. 321.

He's been playing Mega Millions with the same numbers for nearly five years. "Those numbers were from a Chinese fortune cookie and random numbers I picked for myself," he told lottery officials. "I just liked those numbers and put them together."

Guezdoje visited the lottery's website and found out that he could claim by mail during the North Carolina stay-at-home order, so he sent his winning ticket to the lottery along with a claim form. He received $1.4 million after federal and state tax withholdings.

What are his plans for the money? "The first thing I’ll do is pay off my car and try to find a small house – nothing crazy," he said. "And then of course I want to help my family back home."

The North Carolina Education Lottery contributes over $700 million every year to education in the state. $59.5 million of that was distributed to Mecklenburg County schools last year.

Fortune cookies for the win

This isn't the first time lottery luck has come from a fortune cookie.

In 2005, something very odd occurred - 110 players in 26 states won Powerball's second prize when they matched five out of six numbers in the same drawing. Lottery officials investigated, concerned about the possibility of fraud.

But that wasn't the way the cookie crumbled. In truth, the winners had simply used the lucky numbers from a fortune cookie for their Powerball picks.

The sweet treats also delivered another North Carolina win recently. On June 1, 2019, Charles W. Jackson Jr. hit the $344.6 million Powerball jackpot, using numbers in a fortune cookie from his granddaughter. Jackson set the record for the biggest prize ever won by a single ticket in the state.

And in 2015, a fortune cookie led to another delicious win in the state when Winston-Salem couple Bill and April Richee snagged a $260,278 Carolina Cash 5 jackpot - their second in four years. “I’m usually not very lucky when I pick the numbers, so I have to give credit to the cookie,” April said.

Play Mega Millions and Powerball from home

The jackpot for the next Mega Millions draw on Friday, May 15 is $266 million ($210.1 million cash value).

The Powerball top prize for the Saturday, May 16 drawing is $86 million ($69.2 million cash value).

Stay safely at home by getting your tickets for both games online.

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