A winning Super Lotto ticket worth $17.5 million was purchased by 18 Glendale Bank of America employees from the husband of the one of the workers, state lottery officials said Monday.
"I sold the ticket to my wife," exclaimed Firoz Ali, as the couple's son Farhan smiled broadly at television cameras clustered around the Van Nuys lottery office while six members of the group claimed their prizes.
The group held one of four tickets that lottery officials said won the $70 million drawing.
"We tried other stores," said Annie Anderson, a section manager at the bank. But after losing twice over the past four months, the group dispatched employee Gul Ali-Kurlawala to try her luck at her husband's store, Rodeo Liquor and Deli.
Ali-Kurlawala said she almost rejected what turned out to be the lucky ticket, one of 92 she bought for her co-workers. She had wanted any winnings to be paid in a lump sum, but her husband accidentally issued the ticket with the stipulation that winnings be paid out over a 26-year period.
"It was by mistake, you know," she said. "So I thought, OK." She accepted the ticket, and now she and her co-workers will each receive about $972,000--minus taxes, of course--over the next quarter century.
The amount of annual payments will gradually increase over the years, said Ulysses Carter, a lottery sales manager. For the first year, each of the 18 winners will reap about $24,300 before taxes.
In a twist that Carter said appeared to be a first, the Ali family claimed two prizes Monday. As the seller of the winning ticket, Ali also won 0.5% of the prize, or $87,500.
"I've never sold a big ticket before," Ali said, adding that the family was not sure what it would do with the money.
In the meantime, a Beverly Hills woman presented one of the other winning tickets, Carter said. The other two tickets, which were sold in Gardena and Visalia, had not yet been claimed.