Robert Segretto thought he was lucky three years ago, when he won $50,000 on a New York Lottery scratch-off ticket. But the Port Jefferson Station resident nearly lost it when he won the grand prize on the lottery's Hit $5 Million ticket.
"I almost had a heart attack," Segretto, 64, said Wednesday as he was introduced in Plainview as one of three new Long Island multimillionaires, along with George Uss of Smithtown and Jennifer Miller of Oyster Bay.
Overall, the three claimed checks worth $13 million.
Segretto said after scratching his winning ticket on Sept. 30 he went back into H&A Card 'n Gifts, the store in East Setauket where he made the purchase, to validate it and "the clerk started crying for me."
When he called his wife, Marie, to tell her he won big, she didn't believe him.
He said he took the winning ticket to the lottery's Plainview Customer Service Center to claim it within an hour after making the purchase.
"I don't let the grass grow under my feet," he said.
Segretto plans on a vacation for his extended family, then maybe another little getaway with just his wife.
He will receive a lump-sum payment of $3,309,000 after required withholdings.
Uss, 70, won $3 million on the King's Ransom game after buying flowers for his wife, Joyce.
The retired bank operations manager official who plays all lottery games, purchased his winning scratch-off while leaving a Giunta's Meat Farms store.
"I was leaving the store and walked past the machine. I had change left from my purchase, so I bought a ticket," he said.
He scratched it off in the car, then went back into the store to double check; he just did not believe the ticket was a jackpot winner.
The next morning, after his daily walk with his wife, they picked up one of their three sons and claimed the ticket in Plainview.
He said he'll invest some of his winnings and that "maybe a pool would be nice. Once I get the money, then I'll figure it out."
Uss opted for a onetime payment; his prize after withholdings will be $1,548,612.
Miller, 44, said she told her husband, Scott, to pick up a Set for Life ticket on his way home.
She was sleeping when he got home. "He came in, woke me up and said, 'I think we have something here.' "
"We just sat and stared at it," Miller said.
As for winning a large lottery prize, Miller said, "It feels fantastic. It gives me the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom for good."
She plans to pay bills, invest and start a college fund.
Miller elected to receive a lump sum; she will net $2,630,194 after withholdings.