A longtime scratch-off ticket player from Suffolk and a landscaper from Nassau were among five $1 million winners announced Friday by the New York Lottery.
In his 32 years of playing the lottery, Bay Shore resident Isai Cortez has routinely used his smaller winnings to buy more tickets -- with the hopes of getting an even bigger prize.
Last month, after he won $500 on the new "Million Dollar Numbers" scratch-off ticket, he decided to try his luck on one more. The second scratch-off ticket he purchased turned out to be a winning $1 million ticket.
"It said 'jackpot' under the number, and immediately my knees started shaking," Cortez said in a statement. "I went straight home and celebrated with my family."
He purchased his winning ticket at the OK Petroleum on Brentwood Road in Bay Shore and claimed his prize, taken in a lump-sum payment of $780,000, on Nov. 25. After tax withholdings, he will net $516,204.
Cortez said he plans to buy a new house and donate a portion of his winnings to his church.
The second Long Island winner, Marvin Rosales Martinez, 27, of Hicksville, said he was blowing leaves at his landscaping job when he spotted a "Win $1,000 a Week for Life" ticket. First, he brought it to a 7-Eleven, but it couldn't be verified.
On Nov. 9, he brought it to the Lottery's Long Island Customer Service Center, where officials confirmed it was a winning jackpot ticket.
Martinez opted to take his $1 million prize in a one-time, lump-sum payment. He will receive $779,106, which after tax withholding will amount to $515,612.