QUEENS, N.Y. - Meet New York City's new millionaires -- including a woman who had no idea she'd cashed in a 5-million-dollar scratch-off ticket.
The New York Lottery presented $15 million in over-sized prize checks at the Resorts World Casino Thursday to New York's newest Lottery winners, including Ruth Tritremmel, from Queens, Kathy Szenasi, from Manhattan and a group of five family and friends from the Bronx.
Tritremmel, a retired bookkeeper, won $5,000,000 on a Bankroll scratch-off ticket -- but didn't know she was a millionaire right away.
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After buying the ticket from Artis Drugs in Middle Village, she took it home and gave it to her husband. He used their lucky penny to scratch it and told Tritremmel she won $5,000.
"Very happy" with $5,000, Tritremmel and her husband took their winning ticket to the claim center.
After Tritremmel signing the ticket and providing her social security number, the woman working at the claim center told the couple the lottery could only pay up to $500,000.
Tritremmel said they were confused.
"She said, 'no ma'am, you forgot to scratch off the rest of the three numbers. You won $5 million,'" Tritremmel said. "Oh my god. I almost fainted."
She wants to use her prize to help her family and buy a condo in Florida.
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A group of five friends and family, who call themselves "The Five Lucky Stars Trust," won the $7,000,000 top prize on the CASH4LIFE draw game on December 7.
Rodney Warrior, who represented the group, said he was the first group member who realized they won.
"Well I called my family members, and then I called the lawyer," he said.
Warrior said his family wants to use the money for investments, but he wants to travel the world.
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Finally Szenasi, a retired housekeeper, won $3,000,000 on a 50X the Money scratch-off ticket. Szenasi said she picked up the ticket from Moid Newsstand on E 79th Street in Manhattan on New Year's Eve.
"I said to myself, 'If I don't win anything, I'm going to quit scratching as of tomorrow."
She plans to use her money to buy an apartment and invest in the future.
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