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Real Lottery Winners Cash In

A couple married for nearly 20 years claimed a $58.9 million share of the Big Game lottery jackpot Tuesday, a day after state lottery officials debunked a claim to the prize by some nursing home employees in an office pool.

Jorge M. and Joanne S. Lopes, of Englishtown, held one of the three wining tickets from the $331 million prize drawn April 16, the second-biggest lottery prize in U.S. history.

Lopes,46, manages two Portuguese restaurants. His wife worked as a daycare teacher and makes deliveries for a florist. He said he will use the money right away to pay his bills and buy their children some clothes. Lopes told CBS News Correspondent Chris Lawrence that the couple may also buy a new house with the money. He said he'll probably continue working.

"There's not too many words to say but I'm still dumbfounded by it," said Jorge Lopes, who moved to the United States from Lisbon, Portugal, in 1977. He said he waited to come forward because he was concerned about the safety of his children.

Lopes, a regular lottery player, said he doesn't remember the day he bought the ticket. But remembers well when he discovered he had the winning ticket.

"I started shaking like I'm shaking now," Lopes said. He put the ticket in his pocket and the next day went to see his lawyers, he said.

The couple bought $5 in tickets from a Hillside convenience store. They opted for a lump-sum payout, thereby reducing the prize. Taxes will cut it further to $43 million.

Winning tickets in the multistate lottery, with odds of 76 million to 1, were sold in Georgia, New Jersey and Illinois, where a winner has yet to come forward. Erika Greene, a 20-year-old warehouse worker in Georgia, claimed her share as a lump sum on April 17.

Patricia Gomes, who works at one of the restaurants Lopes manages, said the couple was deserving of the prize.

"Me and my friends could work for a place that would pay us better, but we never left because he's so nice," said Gomes, a waitress at the Vilamoura restaurant in Hillside.

"Was she the one? It was the $58 million? Well, she deserves it. She was a great employee," said Adalet Kamil, center director of the Kindercare in Manalapan where Joanne Lopes worked until giving her notice last week.

On Monday, lottery officials dashed the hopes of a group of Newark nursing home workers who played the Big Game as a pool. The workers from Newark Extended Care Facility Inc. believed the winner was a co-worker who wouldn't share the ticket with them.

Despite Angelito Marquez's insistence the group had lost, co-workers became suspicious after Marquez called in sick to work in the days after the drawing. They hired a lawyer.

Lottery officials settled the matter by inviting four members of the pool to view store videotape of the person validating the ticket at the Hillside convenience store where it was purchased. The nursing home pool's tickets were bought at a liquor store in Union.

Several workers said they were disappointed, but wished the winner well and said they held no bad feelings for Marquez.

"We never really claimed the ticket. We just wanted to know," said Ida Davis.

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