It was easy for four Hudson Valley residents to offer up huge smiles when handed giant checks from the New Lottery making them the area's newest millionaires.
The winners, Paul and Norma Fox of Cortlandt won $5 million playing the Mega Millions megaplier, and Katherine Lukin of West Nyack won $1 million on a Cashword scratch-off game, received their winnings during a ceremony Wednesday.
Along with them was Anthony Vitolo of Wallkill in Orange County, who picked up his $10 million winnings from a luck $350 million Cash Spectacular scratch-off tickets.
Lukin, who said she likes to play her favorite game, Cashword, sporadically, bought her winning ticket after winning $50 on a $2 ticket. She said she decided to splurge on a $10 ticket.
“I went to my car and scratched the ticket. I thought I had nine words and won $5,000. I went back to the store to check on the scanner and it said ‘Big Winner, Sign Your Ticket,’” she continued.
Lukin got a big surprise when she came into the Fishkill Customer Service Center to claim her prize. She gave her ticket to the clerk and heard her say, “Jackpot.”
“I thought, ‘What? Oh my gosh!’” Lukin described.
Lukin chose to receive her prize as a one-time lump sum payment totaling $661,800 after required withholdings.
The Fox's, a couple of 54 years, won their $5,000,000 prize on a $2 Mega Millions ticket purchased at the ROA Hook Food Mart at 98 ROA Hook Road in Cortlandt Manor.
Both retired, Norma from Westchester Medical Center, and Paul from Chase Manhattan like to play the Lottery draw games.
While out on his regular errands Paul purchased the winning $2 ticket. Later that night he checked his numbers.
“I checked online and saw that we matched five numbers. I called for Norma and told her we won $1,000,000. She was shocked,” Paul explained.
Paul double checked the ticket, “I forgot I played the megaplier. I was speechless when I realized.”
The couple, who are splitting the prize equally, plan on using the money to help their three children and five grandchildren, fix their house, pay debts and donate to their church.
Vitolo is the first New York Lottery player to claim a top prize of $10,000,000 on the $350,000,000 Cash Spectacular. Vitolo said he enjoys playing the $20 and $25 games because he likes to win big. This time he said he bought his ticket because he was out of alternatives.
“I needed money plain and simple,” Vitolo said.
Vitolo currently works as a cook at an Italian restaurant in Madina, but not for much longer.
“If I don’t have to work anymore, then I’d rather not,” said the father of one. “I’d like to get out of debt, retire and spend time with my family – all things I thought I’d never be able to do because of my work. I’ve done my time,” he added.
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