Some folks have all the luck.
Just two years after her wealthy businessman brother won $1 million a year for life in the lottery, Manhattan party planner Cindy Altunis has scored a $1 million jackpot — with a ticket bought at the same gas station where her brother got his.
In fact, the family's luck extends to the Long Island gas station — a clerk there won $1 million after selling the ticket to Altunis' brother.
"My mother is a good-luck charm here," Altunis, 32, said at a lottery press conference yesterday. "She's the common denominator."
Altunis bought her $500,000,000 Extravaganza scratch-off ticket with her mother, Gonul, on March 1 at the Norwich Service Station on Northern Boulevard in East Norwich. She will now get a check for $33,015 per year for the next 20 years.
"If I wasn't visiting my parents that day in March, I wouldn't have won," she said. "God has blessed me and my family in many ways."
Altunis' brother, Kenan, was blessed in October 2008, when, also with help from their mother, he won one of the biggest-paying scratch-off games the New York State Lottery offers, the $30-per-ticket $1 Million for Life game.
A high-powered banker who lives in London, Kenan Altunis gave his mother $100 to buy tickets during a visit to the United States in 2008. He had returned overseas when she informed him that one of the tickets hit big.
Because he was a London resident, Altunis did not have to pay federal tax on the millions and gets $930,000 per year. He is so wealthy, however, that the cash has hardly changed his lifestyle.
Money meant a lot more to the man who sold the ticket to Altunis' mother. Six months after Kenan Altunis' win, gas-station clerk Sandeep "Sandy" Sharma bought a Monopoly scratch-off ticket at the Norwich Service Station and won $1 million.
He moved back to India to be with his wife and family.
"I've never seen a store like this. It's easy for people here," said Gogi Singh, who was working at the gas station yesterday. "They win $500, $5,000 all the time. I've worked in a lot of stores, and this one seems special."
The single Cindy Altunis said she plans to donate to her church and fund vacations for her parents. She said her whole family, which hails from Turkey, is now playing the lottery at the store.
"Yes, we all play it now, of course," she said. "Uncles, aunts and cousins — we all play the lottery."
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