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Originally published Friday, May 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Lottery winner, 19, worried for safety

Jonathan Vargas, 19, won a $35.3 million Powerball jackpot last week; this week he is looking to hire a bodyguard after friends alerted...

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Jonathan Vargas, 19, won a $35.3 million Powerball jackpot last week; this week he is looking to hire a bodyguard after friends alerted him to possible threats.

"I've been getting a lot of warnings from friends I trust that the word is going around, 'People are plotting on you,' " said Vargas, of Gaston, who is the youngest person and only South Carolinian to claim the S.C. Education Lottery Powerball Jackpot.

Vargas, a construction worker, is going to take a lump sum of $17 million.

He said he is considering making an appearance on the "Dr. Phil" show after being contacted by one of the show's executive producers. He also is weary from the attention he has received over his instant-millionaire status. "I don't want too much exposure in my neighborhood," he said.

He purchased his first lottery ticket Saturday and realized he was the big winner after watching an 11 p.m. TV newscast.

He chose the six winning numbers using the upcoming birthdays and ages of his four siblings, his mother's age and a lucky "guess": 12, 14, 15, 21, 43 and 30.

Vargas said he plans to invest most of the money, buy a new house for his family and set up trust funds for his sister and three brothers.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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