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It’s No Longer a Dream for Lotto Winner

Times Staff Writer

Patience, steady betting and dreaming of “the big one” paid off for Jose Amador Granados of Anaheim over the weekend.

Granados, a Mexican national who has lived in California for 14 years, was one of the four winners of the $44.9-million California Lotto 6/49 jackpot.

He is expected to clear about $448,000 annually for the next 20 years after the federal government takes out 20% in taxes, state lottery officials said Monday.

The other winning tickets were purchased by James Hickey of La Puente, James Hurley of Hayward and Charles Johnson of San Francisco.

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Avid Player

An avid lottery player, Granados said he has spent at least $30 a week on tickets since the lottery began three years ago.

“Every time I go to buy something, I buy a ticket,” he said.

He estimated that he has spent more than $3,000 on tickets altogether.

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“I was trying and trying and I said, ‘One day, I have to get the big one,’ ” he said during an interview Monday at the Laguna Hills landscaping company where he is a supervisor.

No probability theory or birth dates played into Granados’ number selection, which he left to chance. The Lotto computer chose his winning combination of 16-26-27-36-43-45.

Granados, 30, said he had trouble sleeping Sunday night because of the excitement.

“I feel good,” he said. “But at the same time, I feel different.”

Still, he insisted, his riches will not change him.

“I’m still the same person, my personality is going to be the same,” he said. “I don’t like to change.”

Granados even said he will keep his job.

Ken Lawson, owner of Lawson Landscaping Maintenance, where Granados is employed, said, at first, he was not overjoyed about his employee’s good fortune.

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“I wasn’t thrilled he won, actually, because I didn’t want him to quit,” Lawson said.

Lawson described Granados as a hard worker--six days a week--and a good employee who, six years ago, started as a laborer but now supervises several crews totaling about 35 men.

Granados said the first thing he is going to buy when he gets his first check in about three weeks is a home for his parents, who live alternately in Tijuana and California, and a new car for himself.

Asked how he will handle the people who undoubtedly will ask him for donations, Granados responded that he likes to help poor people.

“I am of poor people. We came from Mexico. When I have something, I like to help the poor people.”

Granados’ winning ticket was purchased at an Albertson’s market on Campus Drive in Irvine. The market, lottery officials said, will get about $55,000 as its share of the winnings.


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