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7 winners claim Mega Millions ticket

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Mega Million winners claim jackpot
  • After taxes, each of the seven winners will receive over $19 million
  • Last-minute ticket sales increased the jackpot to $319 million
  • Mega Millions is played in 41 states and the District of Columbia

Schenectady, New York (CNN) -- Seven New Yorkers claimed a $319 million jackpot in the multistate Mega Millions lottery Thursday.

The Albany seven, as they are being called, are co-workers at New York state's Division of Housing and Community Renewal, where they have been playing the lottery for years in an office pool.

Sharing the winning ticket were John Hilton, 57, John Kutey, 54, Gabrielle Mahar, 29, Tracy Sussman, 41, Kristin Baldwin, 42, Leon Peck, 62, and Mike Barth, 63.

Barth said another customer cut in front of him as he reached for a Snickers candy bar before buying the ticket at Coulson's News store in Albany. That customer bought a lottery ticket, he said.

"I thought about saying something, but let it slide," he said. "I behaved myself." The next ticket purchased at the store was the winning ticket, he said.

The group chose the cash option, so they are receiving a one-time, lump-sum payment of $202.9 million.

After taxes, each will pocket over $19 million.

Winning numbers in the Friday night drawing were 22, 24, 31, 52 and 54. The Mega Ball number was 4.

Last-minute ticket sales increased the jackpot from $312 million to $319 million, the New York Lottery said.

Mahar -- who watched the drawing at home with her boyfriend -- said she hadn't decided what to do with the money. But she says that she at least wants a dishwasher.

Mega Millions is played in 41 states and the District of Columbia, and is the biggest jackpot game in the country, according to the lottery.

The $319 million jackpot is the sixth-largest Mega Million jackpot ever and the largest for a single ticket ever claimed in New York, said state lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman.

CNN's Alison Kosik contributed to this report.