For James Harrell, taking a coffee break from working in his garage was the luckiest break of his life.
"It's the best thing that has happened to me," Harrell, 75, a high-school custodian, said Wednesday at the Resorts World Casino in Jamaica where the New York Lottery introduced 12 winners of more than $15 million in prize money, including several from Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Harrell, who called himself a frequent lottery player, said his winning ticket -- the $5,000,000 Cash! game that cost $20 to play -- was a matter of being in the "right place at the right time."
A customer ahead of him in line purchased two nonwinners, and Harrell had a hunch the next ticket would be a winner. Except someone beat him to that ticket.
He said he was disappointed but "decided to try the fourth ticket" on the roll.
After he had scratched it he at first thought he had won $500,000. His wife checked the ticket and then corrected him -- it was $5 million.
Harrell, who presented his winning ticket to lottery officials in Garden City on Dec. 21, will receive a onetime lump-sum payment of $3,309,000 after required withholding, lottery officials said Wednesday.
He doesn't have any other specific plans, except for maybe a vacation.
And he also plans to keep working as a custodian because he likes his colleagues at work too much to leave and wants to keep busy.
Other Long Island winners introduced Wednesday included:
Lori Carron, 43, of Stony Brook and Michael Amodeo, 38, of Selden, siblings who "cried and hugged," when they realized they were the winners of a $3 million top prize in the $3,000,000 Jackpot scratch-off game. They also won in December and presented their winning ticket on Dec. 11, lottery officials said.
Carron and Amodeo said they play lottery games together every now and then for fun. Amodeo usually purchases their tickets, and he bought the winning scratch-off while shopping at Sue's Cardsmart on Independence Plaza in Selden after work.
The two will share 20 annual payments of $150,000; their annual net, after required withholding, will be $49,635 apiece, lottery officials said. Each plans to help out family with some of their prize money.
He presented his winning ticket to lottery officials in December and will get a onetime lump sum payment of $661,800 after required withholding. He plans to share his winnings with his family and make some updates to his house.
Joseph Dionisio, 44, of Massapequa Park, who won the $1-million top prize in the Ruby Red X12 scratch-off game. On his way home from work on Dec. 21, Dionisio stopped at M&B New York Liquor on Carmans Road in Massapequa to buy a couple of instant tickets, he said.
He won $25 on the tickets and decided to invest it into three more scratch offs -- two $10 games and one of his usual $5 Ruby Red X12 tickets.
The first ticket he scratched was the $1,000,000 Ruby Red X12 winner.
Dionisio said that as soon as he saw the word "jackpot," he drove home to show his parents. "We were all nervous, but excited about winning," Dionisio said.
He will receiver 20 annual payments of $50,000, or an annual check of $33,090 after required withholding, lottery officials said. He plans to help his family with the winnings.
Five other $1-million prizes were announced, including a Bronx mother and son -- Magdalena Cruz and Felix Feliciano Jr. -- who won on the 20X the Bucks scratch-off game.