Jose Melgar, of Central Islip, and his brother Miguel, of...

Jose Melgar, of Central Islip, and his brother Miguel, of Bay Shore, are announced as winners of the $3,000,000 Fat Wallet prize. Credit: Karen Wiles Stabile

After a late-night construction shift last month, Jose Melgar walked into a 7-Eleven in Central Islip for coffee and a cup of instant noodles. On a whim, he bought a scratch-off lottery ticket.

He walked out of the store $3 million richer.

Melgar, 37, of Central Islip, was back at the Carleton Avenue 7-Eleven yesterday morning, this time to claim his winnings. A second winner, Christine Weber, 39, of Babylon, won $1,000 a week for the rest of her life.

Melgar posed with an oversized cardboard check for $3 million as his brother Miguel, 34, of Bay Shore, stood next to him at a New York Lottery news conference.

The two brothers plan to split the money: $49,500 after taxes for each of them, every year until 2029.

They said they wouldn't quit their jobs - Jose is a construction worker, Miguel an employee of a fabric company - but plan to save the money to open their own deli one day, "so they can employ people that need to be employed," said New York Lottery personality Yolanda Vega, who translated their remarks from Spanish.

Jose Melgar said he has wanted to own a business "toda mi vida" - Spanish for "all my life."

Vega later gave Weber a cardboard copy of her winning scratch-off game card.

Weber brought her mother, Peggy Aydinian, to the event. On holidays, the two buy scratch-off tickets and include them in the greeting cards they give each other.

Aydinian played the one her daughter bought for her: no luck. When Weber left the room they were in, Aydinian scratched the ticket she bought her daughter.

"I thought there was a mistake," Aydinian said.

Weber came back and looked at the game ticket. "I thought it was one of those fakes," she said, recalling that her brother had once played such a prank on her husband.

Weber will receive her winnings in annual payments of $32,000 after taxes. "As long as Christine here keeps living, we'll keep paying," Vega said.

She said she'll treat her mother to a trip to Italy and start college savings for her two daughters.

"We're happy," Weber said. "It's a good thing."

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