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You won the big one, now what?


People who play the lottery love to dream about the things they’d do if they won the big one. Telling the boss off might top your list (not mine, oh no, not mine). Maybe a new mansion and a fancy car and a gasoline-powered turtleneck sweater (right, Steve Martin?).

But let’s think about it. There are a few important things you should do before you go out and blow your winnings.

You didn’t already? Are you crazy? What if the roommate “claims” it? What if your significant other isn’t as significant as you thought? What if you are showing it to someone, say over a beer or 10, and it goes missing? What if you forget it on your desk and you suddenly have the richest cleaning person in the U.S.? Sign it — if you didn’t when you bought it — because whoever has an unsigned ticket when it gets turned in can call dibs on it.

It’s also time for a selfie. With you and said ticket. It might even be a good idea to run to the drug store and buy a camera with actual film in it.

And then find a hiding place for that ticket. A safe deposit box is probably, yes, safest. Or go get a portable home safe. Remember, this ain’t Canada; no one is going to track you down to hand you your millions.

2. Contact people who have dealt with large sums of money before

And we don’t mean your Uncle Eddie who says he’s doing great with his online stock portfolio or a cousin who just passed the bar. Start with one experienced attorney and look for a seasoned certified financial planner. You don’t want to contact more than a few people, lest the word get out before you even get the big cardboard check.

Your biggest decision right now is whether to take the cash prize (the actual money in the pot) or take an annuity (the estimated value of the cash option plus whatever interest it will earn over 30 years).

It seems like a no-brainer to get it all up front and do your own investing, but a bright financial mind will help you see if it’s best to get 30 checks over time or one check.

The lawyer you pick will also need to hook you up with specialists in subjects like estate planning, taxes and such. You might want to know if it’s best to buy mom a house or just give her some cash each year or set up some sort of trust fund. I vote to buy the house and let her live there. Wait, is that OK? Need a lawyer.

Why you keep playing the lottery

3. Figure out if you can stay anonymous

Chances are, you can’t. Only a few states like South Carolina allow it, so you may want to hire a media consultant or a PR flak. Let someone else plan your appearances after you claim your coin. And remember, you don’t have to make your decisions right away. You might have as long as 180 days to claim your prize, but check state rules while you’re looking to see if you can remain anonymous.

But it would be best if you didn’t have to give out your name, some former winners say.

If you can’t, lie low for a while. If you can’t lie low, it might be prudent to hire a bodyguard. We don’t want you to end up like the winner in Florida who ended up buried under a driveway.

Speaking of staying out of sight, it might be a good time to head to South America. We hear it’s nice this time of year. Or some place like the U.S. Virgin Islands if you don’t have a passport.

One set of winners went straight from the news conference to the airport. They were gone for weeks. If it were me, I might have the news conference at the airport, in front of the private jet.

If you do duck out for a few weeks, you probably won’t come back to find the news media parked in front of your house and people won’t recognize you in stores.

Now there probably will be a pile of mail and e-mails from relatives you never knew you had and messages on the answering machine (if you still have your phone connected).

Sudden lottery fortunes not always for the best

5. Don’t give up just because you didn’t win the top prize

Every year a few of the people who match five numbers and win the measly runner-up prize fail to collect their winnings. So check those tickets again to see if you might have won $1 million. You don’t want to be among the 2% of people (OK, it’s like one or two) who threw away a million bucks. Last year there were $800 million in unclaimed lottery prizes. That’s everything from $1 prizes to the $1 million prize (that can be even bigger if you play the multipliers).

It might be, for instance, the guy I talked to at a sandwich shop in the CNN food court who says he only plays when the jackpots are huge. He checks to see where the big winner lives and if it’s not here, he tosses his tickets.

But if you do get a piece of the top prize, you’ll be in rare territory. Tuesday’s jackpot is the second-largest in U.S. history. (The biggest was a $656 million Mega Millions prize, shared by three winning tickets in March 2012.)

Tuesday’s drawing is at 11 p.m. ET. Good luck!

Zamboanga Domain Mayor Killed in Wait at Manila Airport

Ukol Talumpa, mayor of Labangan, his wife and at least two others died in the shooting yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City near Manila, police director Chief Superintendent Christopher Laxa said by phone. Five others were injured in the attack, he said.

Talumpa was ambushed at the airport’s arrival area by two men dressed in police uniforms on a motorcycle, police spokesman Senior Superintendent Wilben Mayor said in a separate phone interview. Talumpa had arrived from Zamboanga city on a Cebu Pacific plane, Interaksyon news website reported.

The attack, which was the third reported on Talumpa in as many years, may raise concerns among tourists about safety in a country that is just starting to recover from the effects of Typhoon Haiyan, which in November killed more than 6,000 people and left an $8.2 billion bill for reconstruction. Links:

“President Benigno Aquino needs to step up security measures in metro Manila because violence, regardless of whether it’s politically motivated or not, is a drag on the country’s image,” Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila University, said by phone. “Everybody knows that we don’t have the best airport in the world. This egregious incident shows tourists that it’s also not a safe airport.”

Aquino has ordered police to conduct a full investigation and pursue the attackers, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said in a text message. “The government will adopt necessary measures to ensure the citizens’ safety, especially during this holiday season,” Coloma said.

The mayor survived an earlier ambush in November 2010, when he was attacked by two gunmen in Manila, according to the Philippine Star, which said police at the time cited politics, business rivalry and personal conflict as potential motives. In September last year, he and his wife were set upon by armed men while traveling to Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur, according to a report from the military.

Location: 14606 Gannet St,
Corona, CA, 92880
Phone: 800-530-6950

Talumpa was the town’s vice mayor when the earlier attacks happened, and was elected mayor this year under the opposition Nationalist People’s Coalition. Labangan is a town of nearly 40,000 people, located about 270 kilometers (168 miles) from Zamboanga city, the commercial center of the Zamboanga peninsula.

Three weeks of fighting in Zamboanga city between government forces and a Muslim separatist group in September killed at least 203 people and delayed peace talks with a separate group of rebels. Earlier in December, the government said it expects to sign a final accord with Muslim rebels next month, bringing Aquino closer to his pledge of ending four decades of conflict on resource-rich Mindanao island.

The insurgency in Mindanao has killed as many as 200,000 people and stifled development in the area. Ending one of Southeast Asia’s most entrenched conflicts could help bring investors to Mindanao and unlock mineral deposits worth an estimated $312 billion.

Mindanao accounted for 14.4 percent of Philippine output in 2012, according to government data. It’s also home to many of the country’s Muslim population, which accounts for about 5 percent of the Philippines’ more than 100 million people, according to estimates by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport had 32.1 million passengers in 2012, 8 percent more than the year earlier, according to its website. Police set up checkpoints within a 1.5-kilometer radius of Terminal 3, police Chief Superintendent Jose Erwin Villacorte told DZMM radio.

To contact the reporter on this story: Norman P. Aquino in Manila at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at


Oil-field company to pay $253M to stay bribe case


WASHINGTON (AP) - The oilfield services company Weatherford International has agreed to pay more than $250 million to settle federal charges that it bribed officials in the Middle East and Africa to win business.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday it charged the company with violating U.S. law by offering foreign officials bribes, improper travel and entertainment to win contracts under the United Nations’ Oil-for-Food program. Related businesses:

S. sanctions.

The Swiss-based company says it agreed to pay $253 million to settle the charges and other claims against it by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce and other federal agencies.

The pact is subject to court approval.

"This matter is now behind us. We move forward fully committed to a sustainable culture of compliance," said Weatherford CEO Bernard Duroc-Danner, in a statement.

SEC officials said in a release that Weatherford’s lack of internal controls led to an environment where employees engaged in bribery and failed to maintain accurate records.

Weatherford staffers used code names like “Dubai across the water” to hide business dealings in Iran, according to the SEC investigation. In other cases the company created bogus accounting and inventory records to hide illegal transactions.

Among other improper payments, the SEC said Weatherford paid for a trip to the 2006 World Cup for two officials from a state-owned Algerian company, a honeymoon for an official’s daughter and a religious trip to Saudi Arabia for an official and his family.

Regulators documented the misconduct from at least 2002 to 2011, according to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in Houston.

"This case demonstrates how loose controls and an anemic compliance environment can foster foreign bribery and fraud by a company’s subsidiaries around the globe," ”said Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s criminal division.

U.S. shares of Weatherford International Ltd. rose 27 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $16.22 in afternoon trading Tuesday. Its shares have risen more than 42 percent so far this year.

Place of business: 1003 Boyce St.,
Gastonia, NC, 28052
Contact: 800-648-5940