Lottery's newest winners collect $11.5M in prize money

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A former New York City worker, a private caterer and 36 employees of Bloomberg LP were lottery winners announced Tuesday, with a total of $11.5 million issued in prize checks at a ceremony in Harlem.

Sleepless, but richer

A bout of insomnia on April 1 led to Salvatore Gandolfo's getting up and deciding to fill the time by heading out to buy scratch-off tickets, the New York Lottery said.

He opted for a Silver Spectacular ticket from the Richmond Deli & Grocery on Richmond Avenue in Staten Island, which earned him the $7.5 million jackpot.

"I buy that game a lot and was shocked when I realized I won the jackpot," said Gandolfo, 55, of Staten Island, formerly with the city's department of finance, according to the lottery.

A replacement for his 2005 Honda Accord may be in his future, using some of his winnings, which he'll receive as a onetime payment of $4,672,800 after required withholdings.

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A winning turn

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For the past nine years, Susanne Miller, 39, and her brother Winston have taken turns buying one another lottery tickets.

In the instance of a $1 million winning 7*11*21 scratch-off ticket, "he happened to buy this particular ticket and gave it to me," said Miller, a cook and private caterer in Brooklyn. Her brother bought it on March 25 at Madina Food on Saint Johns Place in Brooklyn, the lottery said.

Miller, who'll receive a onetime payment of $473,510 after required withholdings, said she'll invest the money and set up college funds for her children.

Ready for the prize

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With an eye to buying a new home, John Laden, 38, of Manhattan, has already formed a new home revocable trust for his one-time payment of $536,058 after required withholdings, the lottery said.

The information technology consultant was out jogging last May when he stopped at Unique News on Broadway in Manhattan to pick up a few items, including a Million Dollar Scratch ticket.

On seeing the winning combination, "I was very excited," he said.

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Rewarding a new player

Michael Palmer, 29, of Brooklyn, said he rarely plays the lottery, but he spotted a sign for the $400 million Mega Millions jackpot for March 18 and decided to give it a shot.

The shot paid off, as his Quick Pick ticket resulted in a $1 million win, the lottery said.

"I went into the store to buy an iced tea and glanced over at the Mega Millions sign," he said, according to the lottery. "The jackpot was $400 million, so I told the guy behind the counter to give me a ticket."

Palmer opted for a one-time payment of $623,040 after required withholdings, which he said he plans to invest, expecting to "water this prize money and make it grow."

Office pool wins $1M

Thirty six colleagues at Bloomberg LP in Manhattan started a lottery office pool three years ago, naming their group Tech Ops 36. They won big in the March 7 Mega Millions drawing, scoring their first $1 million win, the lottery said.

"I was the one that checked our tickets the day after the drawing," Steven Fenster, spokesman for the group, told the lottery. "The lady behind the counter told me I had a million-dollar winner and I was in complete disbelief. None of the other members believed me until they saw the ticket for themselves the following Monday."

The group will receive a one-time net payment of $623,040 after required withholdings, with individuals having their own plans for their portions, which include cars and vacations, Fenster said.

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