$1M Powerball ticket sold in the South Bronx still unclaimed after more than a week

Customers shop at Fairfield Food Inc. in the South Bronx on Thursday, July 27, 2023.
Customers shop at Fairfield Food Inc. in the South Bronx on Thursday, July 27, 2023.
Photo ET Rodriguez

Everyone knows someone who dreams of winning the lottery, so it might come as a surprise that a winning Powerball ticket sold in the Bronx more than one week ago still has yet to be claimed.

Fairfield Food Inc., inside of a gas station located at 2523 3rd Ave. in the South Bronx, was the fateful location that housed a lottery ticket that won $1 million in Powerball earnings — the New York Lottery announced on Tuesday, July 18.

Sunny Kumar — who has been the manager of Fairfield Food for several years — claimed to actually know the winner, and said the person is a deserving and loyal customer who has kids and works “multiple” jobs.

“We’re happy that we sold it to somebody who needed the money, for sure,” he said. “It’s going to make a big difference in their life.”

Kumar would not disclose the Powerball winner by name, however.

Other customers told the Bronx Times they were shocked to find out that the Powerball winner is from the South Bronx area. One man — who did not want to give his name — paying for gas on Thursday said he assumed the winner will move somewhere else.

“They’re outta here,” he said.

The South Bronx has long been deemed one of the lowest income areas not just in New York City, but also nationwide. Last December, a report by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that in the area — which is made up of 98% Black and Latino families, according to census data — more than 40% of the region’s children live in poverty.

Lottery tickets are seen at Fairfield Food Inc. in the South Bronx on Thursday, July 27, 2023.
Lottery tickets are seen at Fairfield Food Inc. in the South Bronx on Thursday, July 27, 2023. Photo ET Rodriguez

The Fairfield Food ticket was a second-place prize in the amount of $1 million. The ticket had matched up with five of the drawn Powerball numbers, just short of a red Powerball jackpot — in which every single number on the ticket matches up. The winning Fairfield Food numbers were 5, 8, 9, 17 and 41, with the red Powerball number being 21 with a multiplier of four. Matching the red Powerball quadruples the sum of money received and ensures the jackpot of winnings.

The largest Powerball jackpot ticket on record, worth more than $2 billion, was sold in an unincorporated community in the foothills of northeast Los Angeles last November.

And although the odds are stacked against players, winning the lottery is not unheard of in the Bronx. Earlier this month a trio of brothers, one from the Bronx, split and won $2,500 a week for life off of a scratch-off.

Bronxite Jose Zengotita and his brothers Robert Zengotita, from Bronxville, and Carlos Zengotita, from Peniscola, Florida, were the three lucky winners. The Zengotitas chose to split the minimum payout so they’d each receive a one-time lump sum payment. Jose Zengotita received $396,216 after required withholdings. Post-withholding payments to Carlos Zengotita and Robert Zengotita totaled $396,844 and $396,843, respectively.

Janycaly Rojas was another lucky Bronxite, as she was fortunate enough to win $1,000 a week for life this month. According to the New York State Gaming Commission, Rojas opted to receive her prize as annual payments of $31,836 after required withholdings. She will receive a guaranteed minimum of $1 million. Rojas purchased her ticket at Cauldwell Pharmacy at 609 Westchester Ave., also located in the South Bronx.

The odds of winning the lottery’s grand prize is a one in 292,201,338 chance, which is slim, but it doesn’t deter people from playing the lotto as often as possible. More than 181 million people play the lottery annually with the hope of swimming in mountains of money Scrooge McDuck-style with their earnings.

But every now and again those winning lottery tickets go unclaimed, as is still the case with the recent Fairfield Food Powerball winner. People often tend to overlook their numbers, thinking they didn’t win or are unaware of the second place prizes.

Brad Maoine, the director of communications with the state Gaming Commission, told the Bronx Times the winner has one year to claim their prize. After that, the commission has to undergo a security review process — which he said can take upwards of two months — before they can grab their cash.

Maoine would not tell the Bronx Times how many lottery tickets went unclaimed in 2022, or what happens to the money that doesn’t get cashed in.

— ET Rodriguez contributed to this report

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