22-Year-Old Accounting Assistant Wins $500/Wk/Life Lottery Prize!

For Immediate Release Contact: Mike Lang 217-524-5158

CARBON CLIFF, IL—Feb 22, 2012—Paige Taets, 22, has worked for many years in her family’s tax preparation/accounting business. Given her tax-preparation background—and her young age—she was able to anticipate the best way to claim her $500/week/life Lottery prize that could be claimed one of two ways: via regular, recurring payments—or from a 1-time payment of $380,000. Her wise decision, given her age: take the regular, recurring payments. If Taets lives to be 90, she will receive a total of $1,768,000 over her lifetime, thanks to the $1 Cash For Life ticket she bought at the Casey’s General Store in Carbon Cliff.

An occasional Lottery player, Taets bought $5 worth of Cash For Life tickets on Feb 13 and took them to work that day at Office Express in Colona (owned by Taets’ grandmother, Joann Foss, and mother, Trish Keith). Taets scratched the tickets at her desk and “almost had a heart attack” before showing the winning ticket to a co-worker, Barb Woods, who had a similar reaction. Later that day, she visited the lottery’s website ( to research her prize-payment options and confirmed with a financial planner her decision to take the recurring payments.

The next day, Valentine’s Day, Taets drove with her grandfather, Michael Foss Sr., to Springfield to present the winning ticket and authorize the recurring-payment option. “It was the best Valentine’s Day of my life,” she told Lottery officials in Springfield. Taets celebrated Valentine’s Day later in the week with her boyfriend of three years, Nicholas Hanna. When asked if she planned to share some of the prize money with her boyfriend, Taets laughed and said, “He won’t see any of it until I see a ring.”

Taets plans for the money are as prudent as her decision to take the recurring payments: pay off her 2007 Mazda 6, and invest/save the rest. Some of the money may end up going for college expenses; Taets currently studies accounting at Blackhawk Community College, and will transfer to Western Illinois University next semester.

As far as advice for other Lottery players, Taets, who lives in Silvis, said “play in moderation, and believe it can happen.” That’s good advice, according to Lottery officials. Today, Taets received a commemorative, oversized check from Lottery officials at the Casey’s where she bought the ticket. The Casey’s store will receive a $3,800 bonus for selling the winning ticket. Taets’ first check will arrive in about four weeks; she will receive a check for $6,500 (less withholding) four times a year for as long as she lives.

The Lottery offers four versions of the Cash for Life game, with top prizes of either $500-, $1,000-, $2,500- or $5,000-a –week-for-life. To date, 23 people have won top prizes in Cash For Life. Other Central Illinois Cash For Life winners to date include. Wallace and Anneliese Gent of Pekin won $1,000 a Week for Life last June; Wendy Rush of Eureka, who won $2,500 a Week for Life last September, and Sue Hockenbury of Washington, who won $500 a Week for Life in last month.


About Illinois Lottery

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $20 billion to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like Illinois Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for Mega Millions, Powerball and Lotto at Players must be at least 18 years old.