March 28, 2013 / 11:45 PM / 6 years ago

Florida lottery winners to share $1 million prize with co-worker

Cards for lottery customers to pick their own numbers are stacked on a rack at a store where people buy tickets for the Powerball lottery in New York, November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Chip East

MIAMI (Reuters) - A dozen Florida real estate agents who pooled their money and won $1 million in the Powerball lottery plan to share the earnings with a new co-worker who decided not to join the office pool.

“I don’t think of any of us would be enjoying this one-tenth if we did it any other way,” said Laurie Finkelstein Reader, who leads a team of realtors at Keller Williams Partner Realty in Plantation, Florida.

The 12 realtors each contributed $20 for the March 23 Powerball drawing.

But Jennifer Maldonado, who had only been in her job for two weeks, declined an offer to join them because she hadn’t received her first paycheck.

“I was trying to be frugal,” Maldonado said. “I had other things I needed to spend my $20 on. I said, you know what guys, I’ll just skip this one.”

The group ended up with a winning ticket and a prize of $83,300 each after taxes.

After celebrating the news, Finkelstein Reader sent a text message to the other 11 co-workers asking if they would be willing to share a part of their winnings with Maldonado, and they all agreed.

Maldonado said she didn’t know how much money she’ll get, but she plans to use it to take her 4-year-old son to Disney World.

“How can you win and just leave one of your co-workers out?” said Finkelstein Reader. “It seemed to us the natural thing to do.”

Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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