The New Jersey accountant who held the sole winning ticket for last month’s $315.3 million Powerball jackpot had just refinanced his home in order to send his daughter to college.
Tayeb Souami was introduced Friday during a news conference at lottery headquarters. The 55-year-old Little Ferry man was an accountant for a food importing company, but has since quit his job.
“This is big. I am very emotional right now. I like the numbers and I always play with those numbers,” he said.
Originally from Africa, Souami came to the United States in 1996. The married father of four decided to take the money in a lump sum, so he’ll get slightly more than $183 million after taxes.
Souami had bought two tickets for the May 19 drawing at a ShopRite grocery store in Hackensack when he was returning something. He found out he was the winner the next day as he was on his way to a carwash when he saw a 7-Eleven and stopped in to check his Powerball tickets.
“When I went inside, I scanned the first ticket and it wasn’t the winner. The second ticket was good but the machine said it must be seen by the retailer,” he said. “The clerk kept saying, ‘Oh my G-d. Oh my G-d. Oh my G-d,’” adding his heart was beating out of his chest.
Souami said he was so nervous after realizing he won that he had trouble driving home.
He said he will talk to a financial advisor about what to do with the money, but added that one of the first things he will do is take care of his family, especially when it comes to the education of his two children.
He refinanced his house in order to send his 17-year-old daughter to college, he said, and had received the check just a week before winning.
This marks the second major lottery win in New Jersey this year. A Vernon man won a $533 million Mega Millions jackpot in March.