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New Jersey Powerball group winners meet public, one to buy home

By Victoria Cavaliere

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey (Reuters) - A group of New Jersey workers nicknamed "Ocean's 16" was introduced to the public on Tuesday as among the winners of the $448 million Powerball jackpot, which will enable at least one of them to recover from Superstorm Sandy losses.

Members of the group got a check for $86,054,355, their share of the jackpot after taxes, lottery officials said.

They produced the second of three winning tickets to the jackpot. The first winner who came forward last week was a Minnesota engineer, Paul White, and the final holder has not yet stepped forward publicly.

Lottery officials said six of the 16 people had been hard-hit by Sandy.

"Ocean's 16" winner Darlene Riccio said she lost the home she had rented with her daughter for five years during the October 2012 superstorm. They have been staying with family since, she said.

"It has been an extremely rough year," she said at the lottery news conference in Toms River, New Jersey.

"The first thing I'm going to do is buy me and my daughter a home and bring my dog back home," she said.

When her co-workers told her last week that they had won, "I thought they were joking with me and that it was the worst joke ever," she said.

"I'm still in shock," she said.

Their winning ticket was purchased at an Acme Markets store in the New Jersey shore town of Little Egg Harbor. The third as-yet unclaimed winning ticket was sold at a Super Stop & Shop supermarket in South Brunswick, New Jersey, officials said.

The odds of winning the jackpot were about one in 175 million.

Powerball tickets are sold in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Five states - Kansas, Maryland, Delaware, North Dakota and Ohio - allow the winners to remain anonymous, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

(Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Richard Chang)

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