If it weren’t for the help of her loving mother, 19-year-old Imari Shelton wouldn’t have even known how to buy a lottery ticket, let alone figure out if she’d won. But now Shelton is Michigan’s latest million-dollar Powerball winner.
“When I saw the jackpot had climbed so high, I decided I should take a chance and play,” said Shelton, according to a Monday press release from Michigan Lottery Connect. “I wasn’t even sure how to play, so I had to ask my mom for help.”
Shelton then purchased five tickets at a local Speedway store in Holland, Mich., about five hours before Saturday night’s drawing. The Powerball payout had reached $900 million by that time, but since she didn’t really expect to win, she went to bed and put it out of her mind.
“When I woke up on Sunday, my mom told me that someone who had bought a Powerball ticket at the Speedway had won $1 million,” she said. “As soon as I heard that, I grabbed my ticket and started checking the numbers. When I saw I matched five numbers, I started shaking.”
The $1 million lottery ticket bought by 19-year-old Imari Shelton. (Photo: Milotteryconnect)
“I asked my mom what it meant if I matched five numbers, and she thought I was joking. After she looked at my ticket with me, we both started screaming.”
Matching five numbers sans the Powerball number wins the ticket holder a $1 million prize. At this level, there is no cash buyout, and winners are given the full $1 million. But 25 percent ($250,000) of the winnings are withheld for federal taxes and another 4.25 percent ($42,500) are withheld for state taxes. That means Shelton takes home just over $700,000.
So what will she do with all that cash?
“I am a student working and eventually want to earn a law degree and become a lawyer,” said Shelton. “This money will help make that dream a reality for me.”
But she’s also going to put a little aside to play again. “Winning $1 million feels unreal, and I don’t know how to describe it, but winning $1.3 billion would be mind-blowing,” she said.
Since no winning tickets were sold for Saturday night’s $949.8 million jackpot, the payout for Wednesday night’s drawing currently stands at a record-setting $1.3 billion, with an $868 million cash value, and that total will doubtless rise before Wednesday’s drawing.
Even though Shelton has already won a million dollars, her chances of winning the $1.3 billion jackpot are just the same as everyone else’s: 1 in 292.2 million.
(Top photo: Getty Images)