Wilson man’s dream came true as he wins $167,635 lottery prize

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RALEIGH, N.C. – James Penny of Wilson saw a dream become reality when he turned $5 in Cash 5 tickets into a $167,635 lottery win.

“I’ve dreamed of winning the lottery my entire life,” Penny said. “It’s a dream come true.”

Penny purchased his winning ticket on Sunday from the comfort of his recliner using the lottery’s Online Play program on his smartphone. 

When he got up in the morning to check his email, he saw a notification that said he won. Penny said his wife had to calm him down because he was so excited.

“I almost passed out,” Penny said. “I was stunned.”

When asked how he would celebrate his big win, Penny, a 52-year-old factory worker, said he is looking forward to taking a family trip with his wife and two children over the holidays, either to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. or Orlando, Fla.

Penny was one of three winners who matched all five numbers in Sunday’s drawing, so the $502,905 jackpot was divided three ways. A Florida woman purchased one of the other two winning tickets in Bryson City at the Ingles Markets on Hughes Branch Road, and the third ticket was purchased in Raleigh at the Han-Dee Hugo on Hillsborough Street.

Penny arrived at lottery headquarters on Friday to collect his prize. After required federal and state tax withholdings, he took home $118,603.

Cash 5 is one of four lottery games in North Carolina where players have the option of buying their tickets through Online Play, either through the lottery’s website or with the NC Lottery Official Mobile App. Cash 5 tickets are $1 and drawings are held every night.

Ticket sales from draw games like Cash 5 make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $900 million per year for education. A $15 million grant, using money raised by the lottery, helped Wilson County to expand the Wilson County Schools Early College of Applied Technology Academy. For details on other ways Wilson County benefits from lottery funds, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.

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