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Poughkeepsie Bus Tour Operator Closes Business, Begins New Life With $10,000,000 Lottery Prize

Texas woman touring New York City wins $1,000,000 Lottery Prize, plans to make New York home

The New York Lottery today awarded prize checks totaling more than $11,000,000 to two “For Life” instant game jackpot winners. Lottery Drawing Emcee Gretchen Dizer presented the winners with their over-sized checks at the Smokes 4 Less store in Pleasant Valley where one of the new millionaires purchased a Win For Life Spectacular ticket, guaranteeing him a minimum prize of $10,000,000.


Emotions Run the Gamut for Poughkeepsie’s $10,000,000 Win For Life Spectacular Prize Winner
Friday, April 29th, 2011 was a day of extremes for Poughkeepsie resident Vincent Cipriani. “I went into work that morning and told my secretary we were closing the business,” recalled the 53-year-old vice president for tour bus operations at Chappaqua Dutchess Transportation (CDT), a division of the Westchester School Bus Company. “Later the same day, I was sitting in my car holding a [Win For Life Spectacular] Lottery ticket worth $10,000,000,” continued the father of three. “I went to pick up my daughter at school after scratching the ticket and everyone asked if I was feeling OK. I told them, ‘No, I’m not OK, I just won the Lottery!’”


Cipriani credits his change of fortune with being “in the right place at the right time.” That “place” was the Smokes 4 Less shop on North Ave. in Pleasant Valley where he purchased a pack of cigarettes and another Lottery instant ticket on which he won $50. He used the cash to buy two more scratch-off tickets, including his jackpot-winning Win for Life Spectacular game. The $20 ticket guarantees a minimum prize of $10,000,000 paid over 20 years with the balance of the prize continuing for the life of prize winner.


The single father said his win is bittersweet. “The [bus] company has been in the family for decades. I’ve run the tour bus side for the last 25 [years].” But, the new Lottery millionaire said he can’t live his life looking through the rear view mirror. “Now, I can help my parents and pay for college for my girls,” he said. “It’s a fresh start.”


Cipriani claimed his prize at the Lottery’s Fishkill Customer Service Center on May 2nd. He will receive a minimum of 19 annual payments of $520,000 (net $343,356) and a 20th payment of $120,000 (net $79,236) to realize the guaranteed $10,000,000 minimum prize. After that, he will continue to receive an annual net check totaling $343,356 for life.  As for his immediate plans for the money, Cipriani said the enormity of his prize is just starting to sink in. “The only thing I want out of this is a new car,” he said, “And, a couple of new tee-shirts.  That’s all I really need.”


Big Apple Tourist Hunts for Bargains, Finds a $1,000 A Week For Life Lottery Surprise
Sixty-year-old Ngoc Thi Phan of Fort Worth, Texas got more than she bargained for when the Vietnam native purchased a Win $1,000 A Week For Life instant game during a recent sightseeing visit to New York City.  The working mother of two said she wanted to buy a New York Lottery ticket as a souvenir.


“(My nephew and I) stopped for gas on our way to the outlet stores. I decided to buy a New York Lottery ticket just by chance. I scratched it in the car and was so excited to think I won $1,000.”


It wasn’t until Phan claimed her ticket at the Lottery’s Customer Service Center in Fishkill that she and her nephew realized she had won much more. “That’s when they told me I won $1,000 A Week For Life,” said the manicure salon owner. “I seldom play the Lottery (in Texas) because I don’t have any luck.” 


Phan said winning the New York Lottery is the icing on her Big Apple visit. “I love New York,” she gushed. “I want to move here to live.” Phan has lived in Texas since moving to the United States in 2002.


Phan purchased her winning $2 ticket on April 22nd at the A-Plus market on Route 32 in Central Valley. She claimed her prize on April 25th.  Like all “For Life” top prizes, the guaranteed minimum prize on the Win $1,000 A Week For Life ticket is paid as a 20-year annuity. Phan will receive her $1,000,000 minimum prize as 19 annual payments of $52,000 (net $34,336) and one additional payment of $12,000 (net $7,924). After 20 years, she will continue to receive annual net payment of $34,336 for the duration of her life.


“I know I will give some to charity,” she said. “But, I don’t want to make any real plans before I have the money in my hand.”

The New York Lottery continues to be North America’s largest and most profitable Lottery, contributing over $3 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011 to help support education in New York State.  The Lottery’s aid represents over 15 percent of total state education funding to local school districts. 


New York Lottery revenue is distributed to local school districts by the same statutory formula used to distribute other state aid to education.  It takes into account both a school district’s size and its income level; larger, lower-income school districts receive proportionately larger shares of Lottery school funding.