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It’s All about Home for the Holidays for New York’s Newest Lottery Millionaires

New York Lottery Draw Team Member Gretchen Dizer today presented $8,000,000 in cash prizes to four lucky Lottery players from Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and Kings counties. The winners owe their new fortunes to a variety of Lottery games.


There’s No Place like Home for the Holidays and Beyond for Yaphank Sweet Million Winner

Eighty-four-year-old Knute Hagen of Yaphank, Suffolk County has but one wish this holiday season: “I want to pay off the mortgage on my home once and for all,” said the retired union carpenter/construction superintendant. “The rest will come in handy to help my daughters and to help me do a few more things on my bucket list before time catches up with me.”


Hagen, whose family immigrated to New York from Norway in 1950, won the $1,000,000 top prize on the Sweet Million drawing held on November 29th.   The father of two and grandfather of two said he began playing the twice weekly Sweet Million game after hearing about the odds. ‘“The best odds of winning a million with just a buck’; that’s what the ads say,” recounted Hagen. “I figured it was worth a shot.”


Hagen purchased his ticket on the morning of the drawing during a routine trip to his neighborhood King Kullen store on William Floyd Parkway in Shirley. He picked his own numbers using a system he devised himself. “I use a deck of cards to help me pick my numbers.” he explained. “Sometimes it works,” he said, “And, sometimes, it doesn’t.” Hagen said he used the same system to help him select his numbers for a Take 5 drawing in 2008 that netted him $37,000.


Hagen claimed his winning Sweet Million ticket on December 2nd at the Lottery’s Customer Service Center in Garden City. Like all top prize winners on the Sweet Million game, Hagen will receive his $1,000,000 prize as a net lump sum payment totaling $660,300.


Powerball Power Play Winner from Point Lookout to Enjoy the Comfort and Joy of Home

William Morris makes the commute into Manhattan from his home in Point Lookout, Nassau County five times a week; stopping at the World Books store in Penn Station at least twice a week for his Lottery tickets. “It’s the part of the commute that I look forward to,” explained Morris, an accountant with an office in midtown. “I spend $10, maybe $15 a week on the draw games because I like to dream about what I would do if I actually won.” Morris’ day dream turned into a dream come true earlier this month when five of the six Quick Pick numbers he purchased for the December 4th Powerball drawing were selected, turning his “what if” scenario into “what now?”


Morris was one of two New York Lottery players for the December 4th Powerball drawing who opted to pay an extra $1 to add the Power Play feature to their Powerball wager. The Power Play feature gives players a chance to multiply their winnings at lower tier prize levels.  Players like Morris who choose the Power Play option and match the first five numbers drawn, automatically win $1,000,000 rather than the standard $200,000 second-place prize.


Morris plans to use his $1,000,000 windfall to supplement his income and “live comfortably.” Like all Powerball Power Play winners, Morris will receive his prize as one net payment totaling $660,300. Morris claimed his ticket on December 6th at the Lottery’s Manhattan Customer Service Center.


Hollis Set For Life Winner to Send More than Good Tidings to Family at Home in the Philippines

Hollis, Queens Set For Life winner Cynthia Canete said it’s no secret she wants to play Santa this Christmas for her family here in the United States and her extended family at home in the Philippines. The 54-year-old mother of five who left her native Philippines five years ago seeking a better life in New York said she jumped for joy when she realized she had won “a big one.”


“I was secretly jumping up and down in my room,” explained the private caregiver who also owns her own craft-making business, Cynthia’s Creations.  “No one knows about this. We want to surprise everyone at Christmas time with gifts. We just want to make everyone happy at Christmas.” Canete said in addition to all the packages they plan to give to family, their biggest gift will go to people they’ve never met. “We will donate to the church,” Canete said.  “We know our contribution will be used to help people in need.”


As a top prize winner on the Set for Life instant game, Canete is guaranteed to receive $5,000 a week for life with a minimum prize of $5,000,000. The initial $5,000,000 will be paid as $260,000 a year for 19 years (net $161,000) with a final payment of $60,000 (net $37,292) to realize the guaranteed $5,000,000. Once the $5,000,000 threshold has been realized, Canete will continue to receive a net check totaling $161,600 for life. Canete purchased her winning ticket on her way to work on November 28th at Hillside Liquor on Hillside Ave in Jamaica, Queens. She claimed her ticket on December 3rd in Garden City.


Crown Heights Powerball Power Play Winner Dreaming of a White Picket Fence for Christmas

With three sons aged 11, 10 and 1, and the couple’s first daughter due in a matter of weeks, the Manso family of Crown Heights Brooklyn has but one wish this holiday season: “More room, please!”  Leslie Manso, and her husband Irving, Jr., said their search for a new house with a big backyard began when the couple realized they won a $1,000,000 Power Play prize from the December 4th Powerball drawing.


“It’s our dream come true,” said Manso, who is currently on maternity leave from her job as a New York City School Safety Officer. Her husband, Irving, Jr, a custodian for Bedford-Stuyvesant Head Start added, “It’s a new beginning for us, a new start.”


Manso, Jr. purchased the family’s winning Powerball Power Play ticket at the C-Town grocery on Troy Ave in Brooklyn on the day of the December 4th drawing. “I use a mix of family birthdays and anniversaries to pick my numbers,” he explained. “My hand was itching when I handed in my ticket so I thought this one might be a lucky one for us.”


Like their fellow December 4th Powerball Power Play winner from Point Lookout, Nassau County, the Mansos paid an extra $1 for a chance to win larger cash prizes at lower tier prize levels. The wager paid off as the couple matched the first five numbers drawn, turning a would-be $200,000 prize into a $1,000,000 down payment on the house of their dreams. Manso, Jr. said even though he purchased the ticket, he never thought of keeping the prize to himself. “I gave the ticket to my wife to claim because we do everything together,” he explained. “We’re in this together.” The Mansos claimed the ticket on December 6th at the Lottery’s Customer Service Center in Manhattan. Like all Powerball Power Play second-prize winners, the Mansos will receive a one-time lump sum payment totaling $660,300, less applicable withholdings.


The New York Lottery continues to be North America's largest and most profitable Lottery, earning more than $39.3 billion in education support statewide since its founding over 40 years ago. The Lottery contributed nearly $2.67 billion in fiscal year 2009-2010 to help support education in New York State, which was over 12 percent of total state education funding to local school districts.


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.