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Iowa City Man Claims $2 Million Powerball® Prize Won Last July

Jeff Wolf Bought Winning Ticket At Cedar Rapids Convenience Store

Jeff Wolf  Hear Jeff tell his story.

CLIVE, Iowa - The lottery mystery that has lingered for nine months in eastern Iowa is over: An Iowa City man on Thursday claimed the $2 million Powerball prize he won back in July with a ticket purchased at a Cedar Rapids convenience store.

Jeff Wolf of Iowa City said he had known since shortly after the July 16 drawing that he had won a big prize, but he took his time in claiming the winnings while he thought through what to do with the money.

"I'm going to invest it," he said as he claimed his prize at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. He said that he and his sister have also needed to spend significant time working through estate details following their parents' deaths.

Wolf, 54, who owns two mobile home parks in the Iowa City area, said that the convenience store where he bought his winning ticket is near an automotive supply store in Cedar Rapids where he buys truck parts. He remembers stopping at the convenience store to buy some easy-pick plays for the July 16 drawing.

He said that a couple days after the drawing, he called the Iowa Lottery's winning numbers line and realized that one of the plays on his ticket had matched the first five winning numbers. He had trouble believing it at first.

"I called back to listen to the winning numbers again," he said with a smile.

Wolf said he told only his sister about his big win and put the ticket away in a safe place. But after realizing that time was passing by, he decided to claim the prize on Thursday.

"I've got to do it someday - just need to get it done," he said.

Wolf said he was aware that people were wondering about the mystery lottery winner in Cedar Rapids. He said he even happened to drive by the convenience store as the lottery held a news conference there in August about the unclaimed prize. But he said he was happy to lay low as he continued to think through his plans.

Wolf bought his $2 million-winning ticket at the Hawkeye Convenience Store, 2330 Wiley Blvd. SW in Cedar Rapids. He initially matched the first five numbers but missed the Powerball to win a $1 million prize in the July 16 drawing. But he also had added the Power Play® option to the purchase, which multiplied his prize to $2 million.

Wolf said he always adds the Power Play option to his tickets "just in case."

"It's just in case this would happen, and it did!" he said.

The winning numbers in the July 16 Powerball drawing were: 11-17-40-50-62 and Powerball 26. The Power Play number was 2. No one matched all six numbers to win that night's $335.5 million jackpot.

Hawkeye Convenience Store received a $2,000 bonus from the lottery for selling the $2 million-winning ticket at one of its stores.

Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said he was glad to see that the big prize had been claimed.

"Every prize claim has its own timeline, but we were watching this one," he said. "We didn't want to see the prize go unclaimed, so we were happy to see Jeff on Thursday morning."

Rich said that Wolf's prize is a good example of why the lottery reminds players to double-check their tickets.

"There are a lot of different prize levels in our games, and even if you don't win the jackpot, there can still be significant winnings on the line," he said. "We always remind people to check any tickets they may have."

Powerball prizes in Iowa expire a year from the date of the drawing in which a prize is won.

Players in $2 Powerball choose their first five numbers from a pool of 69, and another number - called the Powerball - from a separate pool of 26. The Power Play option is available for an extra $1 per play.

Since getting its start in April 1992 in 15 states with jackpots that started at a guaranteed $2 million, Powerball has grown into one of the world's biggest and most recognizable lottery games. Today Powerball is played by 47 lotteries across the country with drawings at 9:59 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Since the Iowa Lottery's start in 1985, its players have won more than $3.9 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.7 billion for state programs.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for our state's veterans and their families through the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund; help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund; and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

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