$543 million Mega Millions jackpot claimed by 11 California coworkers

Eleven co-workers in San Jose, California, claimed the $543 million Mega Millions jackpot that was drawn last month.

A quick pick ticket allowed 11 financial workers in California to bank the $543 million Mega Millions jackpot that was drawn July 24, the San Jose Mercury News reported Friday.

“If I could win, anybody could win. We’re just normal people!” Roland Reyes said in a news release. Reyes and his 10 colleagues at a Wells Fargo branch office in San Jose each pitched in $2 and claimed the prize at the lottery office in Hayward the following day, the newspaper reported.

The winners range in age from 21 to 60 and will receive $18 million apiece after taxes, KGO reported. They bought the ticket at Ernie's Liquors in San Jose.

Reyes “wanted to go with a small independent store, and he stopped by Ernie's Liquors I guess on his way home and that's the one he chose, and it turned out to be a great choice for him," Russ Lopez, deputy director of communications at the California Lottery, told the television station.

The other winners were identified as Marigold Villaruz, Rita Sinha, Murad Kureshi, Nga Lam, My Nguyen, Solonachchige Dissanayake, Isabel Dominguez, Alejandra Villanueva, Alice Socorro and Joji Ziegele, lottery officials said. They all plan to keep working, KGO reported.

The winners agreed to take the lump sum of $320.5 million. That is $29,140,281 before federal taxes, lottery officials said. The state of California does not tax lottery winnings, the Mercury News reported. The winnings will be taxed at 37 percent, which means the tax bill for each person is roughly $10.7 million, the newspaper reported.

The $543 million jackpot built from a drawing that began May 8. It took 22 times before the jackpot could be awarded. The numbers were 1-2-4-19-29, with a Mega number of 20.

The owner of Ernie's Liquors owner, Kewal Sachdev, said he was thrilled when he heard that the prize had been claimed, the Mercury News reported.

“Man, that’s great!” he told the newspaper. “That’s wonderful!”

Sachdev earned a $1 million commission for selling the winning ticket, KGO reported.