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Thomas Rea of Hicksville wins $12.4 million Lotto jackpot

Thomas Rea with the New York Lottery's Yolanda

Thomas Rea with the New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega on Dec. 12, 2014. Credit: New York Lottery

A Hicksville dad and his daughter finally cashed in on their lottery game plan, winning a $12.4 million Lotto jackpot, the New York Lottery said Friday.

Thomas Rea, 55, was among several new millionaires introduced by the agency at the Resorts World Casino in Jamaica.

Overall, nearly $30 million in winnings, including $4 million for a Coram woman, were announced Friday, the agency said.

Rea and his daughter picked the six winning numbers in the Nov. 19 Lotto game -- 12, 27, 30, 32, 43 and 50 -- and are opting for a lump-sum payment of slightly more than $8.3 million. After taxes and withholding, the payoff is about $5.5 million, the lottery said.

Rea said in a news release by the agency that he and his daughter, 19, a Bronx College student, have a system for picking numbers. "Every year or so, if our numbers haven't come out, we tweak them a little and try some new ones," he said.

Before winning the big prize in November, he said he was just about to change their numbers. "It's a good thing we didn't switch them."

Rea took up watchmaking in 2002, and after a debilitating injury stayed home to raise his only child, his daughter.

He also said his grooming routine played a small part in his winning.

"Whenever I get a haircut I go to the stationery store down the street to get tickets," he said.

He purchased his winning ticket at the Yogi 422 Card and Gift Shop at 442 Jerusalem Ave. in Hicksville.

When he checked the numbers the next day and realized he had won, he said, "I had to keep double-checking the numbers and the date. I was looking for an error I made."

He doesn't have plans yet for his winnings. It still feels surreal, he said. But he is interested in purchasing a retirement home somewhere upstate.

Another Long Island winner introduced Friday won $4 million with a ticket purchase from a self-service machine at a King Kullen store on Route 25 in Selden. Margaret Clark, 46, of Coram, was grocery shopping when she passed the machine and noticed the Nov. 4 Mega Millions jackpot was $326 million, according to the lottery.

Clark, an accounting professional, said she "rarely plays the lottery" but thought she'd try her luck. She didn't quite understand how the game worked, she said, so when she bought her ticket she unintentionally purchased the game's optional Megaplier feature that multiplies the value of any lower-tier prize up to five times its value.

Clark said she checked her numbers in the newspaper soon after the drawing and saw that five of her numbers matched, making her a $1 million second-prize winner. Her unintended Megaplier purchase boosted her prize to $4 million.

Clark will receive her prize in a single payment; her net check total is slightly more than $2.6 million, the agency said.She plans to continue working and will use her winnings to take a vacation next year with her husband to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary.

The destination is up in the air, she said.

"We're still debating whether to go to Disney or Hawaii," she said.

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