Mo’ money, mo’ money, but why not me?

Published 10:53 am Monday, January 8, 2018

Just what I needed to start my New Year off wrong.

Unless it happened in the last few hours, nobody I know – or nobody, period, for that matter – has won the $418 million Mega Millions lottery, or the $480 million Powerball. However if you do win – and the drawing is tonight – my email is listed below.

First there was the case of a woman in New Jersey accidentally receiving the wrong lottery ticket from a cashier in New York and deciding to buy it anyway, and you talk about making the right move!

Oksana Zaharov, a 46-year-old mother of two from Edgewater, NJ, was shopping in New York City last fall when she asked a clerk at one of those little dash-in big city convenience stores for a $1 New York State Lottery scratch-off ticket.

Possibly distracted, the clerk instead unwittingly handed her a $10 Set For Life ticket. Since both were scratch-offs I can see how it’d be a simple mistake.

Rather than just toss or burn the wrong ticket, Zaharov decided to just go ahead and fork over nine more dollars and ‘pay for the mistake’. Thinking she wouldn’t win, she joked to the man that she would probably just use the ticket for a bookmark – which she actually did for a full two weeks before deciding to grab a nickel and rub off those silver polymer-covered squares.

A couple of days later, Zaharov took the ticket with her to work at her office, and when she started reviewing winning lottery numbers – guess what!?!

Her ‘bookmark’ may have just paved the way for her to buy a whole library full of books. Maybe even several libraries (plural!).

Zaharov’s scratch-off was a $5 million winner, and now she has that cash to be distributed over 20 years.

Not bad for a little girl from Georgia, Russia.

This past Tuesday just about everybody in America found out about that stroke of luck as news outlets learned of it and it went viral on the Web.

“I never win anything,” she told the lottery in a press release. (Smart move; don’t appear in public holding one of those Styrofoam checks!). “I was sure the ticket was fake,” she added. “It wasn’t until I brought it into the office that I knew it was for real.”

That lottery ticket will pay her $260,000 a year for 19 years, before taxes, in addition to a one-time $60,000 payment.

After that, she’ll get a net payment of $172,068 a year for the rest of her life.

Talk about miracles, luck, blessings, or whatever you want to call it. This is the ‘good lightning’ that never seems to strike some of us, namely ‘yours truly’.

Zaharov says she’s going to use the money from her winning ticket to pay for her kids to get a college education, and then she hopes to take her family on a Bahamas vacation.

I tried to reach out to Zaharov – and I swear to you it wasn’t for a loan. The thought did strike me of trying to convince her I was her long lost distant cousin since I also have relatives in Georgia: Jonesboro, Georgia, that is.

There I was dreaming of my ocean view cabin aboard a Princess Cruise Lines ship, to which I would arrive ready to embark in port at sunny, warm Miami Beach in my sparkling new fire-engine red Maserati. After the cruise, how about a trip around the world in a Four Seasons private jet!?! Everything catered, of course.

Suddenly, along comes a cold slap of reality: snow and sleet are falling from steel-gray skies outside my window, a stack of bills nearly a foot high – and growing! – are resting on my kitchen table, and another check I hope won’t bounce is due to my ex-wife in less than 30 days.

Any of you out there know anything about bitcoin?


Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7211.