Mar 6, 2012



Louise White, a "vivacious" 81-year-old of Newport, Rhode Island, stepped forward today as the winner of $336.4 million, the third largest Powerball lottery in the history of the game.

"I want to say that I'm very happy and I'm very proud. This will make my family very happy," she said. "We are truly blessed. Thank you."

White took her bonanza calmly, speaking briefly and then leaving the crowded news conference for her new team of attorneys to handle.

One of her attorneys, Jason Kurland, called her "vivacious as any octogenarian."

The funds will go to the Rainbow Sherbert Trust, named after the dessert that she purchased last month while buying the lottery ticket. A family member had a craving for that flavor which led her to go to the store.

A family spokesman said the winning ticket was kept in White's Bible -- which she then slept with -- until she could get to a bank and put it in a safe deposit box.

The sherbert and the winning ticket was sold from Stop & Shop at 250 Bellevue Ave. in Newport, R.I. for $3.

A spokeswoman for Stop & Shop had said before today's announcement that White's family are "frequent" and "valued" customers at the store.

"We're very pleased to be part of the history," Suzi Robinson said before the announcement.

Robinson said White's son, LeRoy White, 63, of Newport is "well known in the community." LeRoy White, a musician, lives about a mile away from the grocery store. Her attorneys said she was from Newport though public records show she at one time lived in the town of Middletown, about five miles away.

In Louise White's Facebook profile page, she lists Verizon Wireless under the "Employers" category.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee was present for the historic win and praised for waiting to claim her prize and getting professional help as well. "You were lucky and smart," Chaffee said.

The jackpot win is the first since the newly revamped $2 version of the PowerBall game debuted Jan. 15, according to lottery officials.

White chose to accept the lump sum payment of $210 million, rather than the 30 annuity payments paid out over 29 years. White will pay $52.5 million in federal taxes and more than $14 million in state taxes.

While the chances of winning the lottery are slim, there are ways to increase your chances, says Richard Lustig, a seven time lottery winner in Florida who has earned more than $1 million.

In "Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery," Lustig shares the strategy he calls "the winning lottery method."

"[Playing the lotto is] like any investment. You have to invest money to get something out of it," says Lustig, 59, a former singer and drummer from Florida.

"Most people buy a $1 ticket and win $10 and they put the $10 in their pocket," says Lustig. Those people are playing the game wrong. Instead, he says, if you win $10, then you should buy $11 worth of tickets because "if you lose, you only lost a $1."

The process earned him $98,000 after he played the Fantasy 5 game in Florida. The first prize he took home was in 1992, for $10,000.

"I use lottery money all the time to buy more tickets," Lustig said in 2010.

His biggest prize was more than $842,000 in 2002.
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