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Lottery winner recalls moment he became a millionaire

Jan 2, 2017, 9:52 am

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New York LotteryNew York Lottery: Lottery winner recalls moment he became a millionaireRating:

A pizza twirler from Greece by way of Long Island, New York, got the birthday wish of his dreams — a $1 million winning lottery ticket.

Dimitrios Hatzisotiriou treated himself to some scratch-off tickets on his 73rd birthday while he was waiting, ironically, for the bank to open.

"I was on my way to the bank to pay some bills, but it was closed," Hatzisotiriou said. "I went to my friend's liquor store a few storefronts down and played some tickets while I waited for the bank to open."

Little did he know, he was a few scratch-offs away from becoming a millionaire.

After losing $25 and winning $50, Hatzisotiriou decided to buy one last $10 ticket with the winnings — opting for the "Holiday Millionaire" scratch-off.

"I scratched off the numbers and saw the matching 36s and just started jumping up and down around the store. What a feeling!" the Lake Grove resident said.

This isn't the first time Hatzisotiriou struck big with the lotto — he won a $56,000 "Take 5" prize a few years ago and used the money to buy a new car.

But this time, he plans to fly to Greece to visit his 95-year-old mother he hasn't seen in 20 years.

The $1 million prize on the "Holiday Millionaire" ticket is paid out as a one-time lump sum payment, according to the New York Gaming Commission.

Hatzisotiriou will walk away with $661,800 after required withholdings.

A couple from Glen Cove will also be joining the list of Long Island's newest millionaires after they scored big on a "Wild Bonanza Multiplier" scratch off ticket.

Michelle Nuzzi has always been a loyal lotto player and was cashing in a $150 winning "Take 5" drawing when she scored the golden ticket.

"I bought several tickets, including scratch-offs and went home to do some housework," Nuzzi said. "I finished my work and then had a seat at the kitchen table to scratch my tickets... I saw number 49 and knew it matched the 49 on top. When I realized it said $5,000,000 below I started screaming, but no one was home to hear me!"

She said she thought the ticket said $5,000 at first and needed to get a magnifying glass to make sure it was $5 million.

"We were in total shock, we jumped, we screamed, we hugged, we cried," her daughter Michelle Donavita told The Post.

Her husband Dominic is thrilled with the winnings and while he's not a lotto player himself, he has nothing to say about his wife's gambling.

"Why would I? I thought it was funny that she buys tickets every day, but she wins so what can I say?"

Michelle won $60,000 in the past on a "Take 5" ticket but never anything north of that.

Her and Dominic are planning to take a lump sum and split the winnings — each will receive a $1,654,500 check after required withholdings.

They plan to use the cash to buy a new computer, help their grandkids go to college and whatever else might come up.

"After that our options are wide open," Michelle said.

A storekeeper from Queens was another winner celebrated today — Ajit Rana from Long Island City won $1,000 a day for the rest of his life on a "CASH4LIFE" ticket.

Rana is a dedicated lottery player and gambles every week on all the draw games. He purchased the winning ticket while cashing in a few others but didn't check to see if he won until the next day when he went back to the shop and heard people talking about a winning ticket that was sold there.

"I thought to myself, 'I wonder if it's me?'" Rana said. "I checked my tickets and couldn't believe what I was seeing. I was just in shock."

He called his wife, who didn't believe him at first, then went home to show her the proof.

"We just kept checking the numbers over and over again. We were both just totally surprised!"

Rana will receive a net check totaling $227,410 every year for the rest of his life. His first plan is to visit his family in India, buy a new car and purchase a home.

His wife Manjinder Rana said the winnings are life changing.

"This is going to make things easier for us."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

NY Post, Lottery Post Staff

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10 comments. Last comment 4 years ago by dallascowboyfan.
Page 1 of 1
s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
Hard Luck, Ak
United States
Member #23471
October 13, 2005
355 Posts

Right place right time! Congrats! Never know it can happen to any of us one day. Keep the faith.

"We make a living by what you get, You make a LIFE by what you give!"

                                                               Sir Winston ChurchillSun Smiley

    Groppo's avatar - cat anm.gif

    United States
    Member #162626
    January 7, 2015
    780 Posts


    Boy, that's all I need - is to be one of those winners.

    • Don't chase the numbers you play.
    • Play only numbers you've already played, plus however many random picks.
    • But, ALWAYS the regular numbers you play.  This will make you a winner, not a chaser.
               (so far, though, I've yet to win any significant lotto prize)
    • Oh, but always know where your tickets are, as well as your ticket's deadline.
      hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

      United States
      Member #52343
      May 21, 2007
      3289 Posts

      curious looking mugshot..... almost honest looking jejejeje 


        Member #164597
        March 8, 2015
        803 Posts

        "Lottery winner recalls moment he became a millionaire"  is what I want a recap for a convo with me to be for 2017.Jester

          music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
          USN United States Navy
          Fresno, California
          United States
          Member #157851
          August 2, 2014
          3959 Posts

          Congratulations to all the winners!  A great way to start the New Year!

           "We are all in this together!" 


            United States
            Member #135800
            November 29, 2012
            406 Posts

            Some guys have all the luck!

              Skibunnylk's avatar - Lottery-059.jpg

              United States
              Member #157696
              July 28, 2014
              152 Posts

              Congratulations to the new millionaire! I'm guessing he was already wealthy since his take home amount was $661k.

              Never attempt to maintain a lifestyle you can't afford.

                OneTrickpony's avatar - rocking horse.jpg

                United States
                Member #167652
                July 25, 2015
                118 Posts

                Congratulations to the new millionaire! I'm guessing he was already wealthy since his take home amount was $661k.

                Maybe, but the check is correct after NY & Fed taxes taken out.  I know, it's outrageous.

                  American Indian's avatar - disney14
                  Mesa, AZ USA
                  United States
                  Member #172123
                  January 16, 2016
                  198 Posts


                  WOW what a way to start the New Year!

                  Hope I will be so Lucky SOONER rather than LATER!!!


                    dallascowboyfan's avatar - chi
                    United States
                    Member #82389
                    November 12, 2009
                    6371 Posts

                    Congratulations to all the winners. I wish Oklahoma had scratch-off games that are life changing.

                    I Love Pink & Green 1908