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Long IslandSuffolk

Two 20-somethings from LI hit it big in lottery

A college student and a newlywed won a total of $8 million after getting lucky from playing scratch-off lottery tickets.

New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega, center, presents checks

New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega, center, presents checks to lottery winners Maria Idrovo, 21, and Michael Pugh, 28, on Friday in Plainview. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

A college student and a newlywed, both from Long Island, are now millionaires after getting lucky with two scratch-off lottery tickets.

Maria Idrovo, a 21-year-old college senior from Patchogue, won $5 million on a Set for Life game. Michael Pugh, 28, of Lake Ronkonkoma, hit it big with a $3 million win on a Mayhem ticket.

Yolanda Vega from the New York Lottery presented Idrovo and Pugh with two ceremonial checks at the New York Lottery’s Customer Service office in Plainview on Friday.

Idrovo on Friday said that she and her uncle are close, so it wasn’t too surprising when she got home late one night to find that he purchased Set for Life lottery tickets from Thrifty Beverage on Julia Goldbach Avenue in Ronkonkoma — one for him and one for his niece. They sat down together hoping for some luck.

Her uncle’s game card came up empty and he asked Idrovo whether she had anything. Idrovo responded, “How does $5,000 a week sound to you?”

After they both confirmed her win, she hid her ticket in a box in her room and mailed her winning ticket to the New York Lottery center the next day.

Idrovo decided to receive her jackpot in a lump-sum payment of $2,591,133. Idrovo plans on paying off her student loans, buying a new car and saving her money for a future home.

“For a 21-year-old, it’s a lot of money. But it depends on the personality, and I’m very straightforward. I know what I want and what’s important to me,” Idrovo said.

Michael Pugh had just returned from his honeymoon when he decided to buy a few Mayhem tickets from a 7-Eleven on Route 25A in Kings Park.

Pugh bought two tickets in the morning and won $500. When he cashed it in, he bought 10 more tickets.

He started scratching off the tickets while sitting in traffic on his way home from work and had to pull over when he realized he had won something on the ninth ticket. Once he realized it was $3 million, he said he drove all the way home yelping and pumping his finger out his window.

“I just plan on saving some money for my future children,” Pugh said. He also plans on investing his money and buying a new car. He said he’ll continue working for now.

He chose to receive his prize in one lump-sum payment of $1,598,884.

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