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New York Lottery: Break from routine pays off for $3M winner

An Elmont woman who won $3 million and a Queens man won $10 million after playing scratch-off tickets shared their stories of luck as New York Lottery presented their winnings on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, at Resorts World Casino in Queens. Credit: Newsday / Raychel Brightman

Leelawatie Pittam broke slightly from her regular routine, and she ended up winning in a big way.

The Elmont resident, one of two to share in a total of $13 million in New York Lottery winnings Tuesday, said she had been on course with her regular after-work routine — stop for gas and buy lottery tickets.

After purchasing four 50X The Money scratch-off tickets at Mobil Mart on Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont, she said she noticed one last ticket left on the roll.

Pittam, 52, at first didn’t jump for it, according to a state lottery news release, but in the end, ponied up the extra $10.

Of course, it “turned out to be the winner,” she said, snaring her the $3 million jackpot, at which point, “I screamed and was carrying on,” joking that she “probably gave someone in the store a heart attack.”

Opting for a one-time lump sum of $1,568,466 after withholdings, Pittam, a loss prevention specialist for BJ’s Wholesale Club, said she plans “to use the money to retire early and just continue living life.”

Also scoring a big win — to the tune of $10 million — was Imran Mohammed, 29, a construction worker from Queens.

When he first saw the prize on the $10,000 A Week For Life scratch-off ticket he bought at the M&S Smoke Shop on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, “I thought something was wrong with the ticket,” he said.

Opting for his winnings in the form of a trust, he’s receiving the cash value of the guaranteed $10 million prize, walking away with $5,036,617 after withholdings, the lottery said.

Not ready to retire just yet, Mohammed said he’ll “continue working, but maybe a little less than normal.”

He expects “to buy a new house and then invest the rest for the future.”

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