Mar 14

Midnight Trip for Milk Leads to Million Dollar Win

When Melissa Garcia headed out in the middle of the night to buy milk, she never thought her trip would lead to a million dollar instant win. While at the counter, Garcia decided on a whim to purchase three $2 California Lucky for Life scratch-offs, one of which led to a prize worth $1.3 million.

Garcia took her three scratch-offs and returned home; the first two were unsuccessful but on her third and final try she revealed the word ‘LIFE’ however, Garcia did not immediately realise the value of her win.

“I didn’t really know how [the game] worked.” Garcia said; “I slept it off and… when I woke up in the morning I showed my cousin and he goes, ‘You won!’ I still wasn’t 100 percent sure,” Garcia added.

40-year-old Garcia won $1,000 a week for the next 25 years is the equivalent of $1.3 million. However, after careful consideration, she opted for the alternative lump sum payment of $750,000. Although Garcia has no immediate plans for her money, she did say she’d share some of it with her cousin Evaristo who had recognised Garcia’s scratch-off as a winning ticket.


Melissa Garcia collects her prize.
Image source: calottery.com

Garcia purchased her lucky scratch off ticket at the 7-Eleven convenience store on 1200 Garfield Avenue in Alhambra of Los Angeles County. The owner of the store is set to receive a $6,500 retailer bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Melissa Garcia isn’t the only Californian to win big with the California Lucky for Life scratch-offs range as Simon Thammavongsa recently won a $3.25 million prize on a $5 card.

“It was right after payday. I was completely broke and I got paid and I wanted to buy a Scratcher. I was feeling it,” Thammavongsa said. Following that feeling, the 22-year-old Anaheim resident visited a local liquor store and bought just one scratch off; “I was telling myself, ‘I hope I hit ‘LIFE’’ and the next thing you know the ‘LIFE’ symbol came up and I started going crazy.”

Thammavongsa purchased his lucky scratch off from A & J Happy Liquor on 414 West Lincoln Avenue in Orange County. The retailer will receive a bonus of $16,250 for selling the winning ticket.

Like Garcia, Thammavongsa opted for a one off cash payment rather than 25 years of annuity payments and received a lump sum of $1.9 million. Had he chosen the annuity payments, Thammovongsa would have earned $2,500 a week for the next 25 years.

Thammavongsa revealed he would spend the money on improving his education and buying a house for his mom, after revealing that their lives had always been a struggle.

LotteryWorld would like to congratulate both Melissa Garcia and Simon Thammavongsa on their wins and wish them the best of luck for the future.

by Mike Redfern
Updated March 28th, 2014

Mar 14

First Ever Scratch-Off Purchase Leads to $1 Million Prize for North Carolina Resident

Thursday March 20 2014 – A North Carolina resident decided to buy their first ever scratch-off and ended up winning a $1 million prize.

Cindy Reeves, of Wilmington, purchased a $4,000,000 Multiplier Spectacular scratch-off ticket, one of the newest additions to the North Carolina Lottery portfolio, from the Shop-N-Go on Market Street, Wilmington on Sunday March 9.

Reeves decided to scratch the ticket in her car but as a newcomer to the world of scratch-offs, wasn’t sure if she had won a prize and phoned her boyfriend, Rick Jocheim, for advice. Recalling the phone call, Reeves told officials that she asked Jochiem, “I have the number 16 and one of the winning numbers is 16” to which he replied “What does it say under the 16?”

“It says $1 million,” Reeves replied.

“Then you won $1 million!”Jocheim said.

Both came forward to claim the $1 million prize last week and Reeves choose to receive her win as a pre-tax lump sum payment of $600,000 rather than 20 annual annuity payments of $50,000. Speaking to officials about his girlfriend’s win, Jocheim said,”She really deserves this. It could not have happened to a better person.”

With her new found fortune Reeves plans to clear her debts, take a trip to Disney World and visit the North Carolina Mountains with her sister.

As the $4,000,000 Multiplier Spectacular only launched at the beginning of the month, Reeves is the first to beat the odds and secure a $1 million prize. The $20 scratch-off offers a total of 17 prizes ranging in value from $20 up to $4 million and as the game is brand new, all of the top prizes remain unclaimed.

Other Lottery News

Following last night’s draw without a top prize winner, the Powerball jackpot is now worth $96 million. Match 5 was the first winning prize tier and saw six ticket holders from California (1), Indiana (1), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), Pennsylvania (1) and Texas (1) win $1 million each. As one of the winning tickets was purchased in California and prizes in the state are paid on a pari-mutuel basis, the Match 5 prize was increased to an impressive $2.1 million.

The latest winning Powerball numbers can be found on Lottery.net.

by Patrick Fitzgerald
Updated April 4th, 2016

Feb 14

Clerk’s Mistake Leads to $10 Million Scratch-Off Win for New York Resident

new-yorkWednesday February 26 2014 – New York resident Jerry Kajfasz claimed his $10 million scratch-off win yesterday which happened after a clerk mistakenly gave him the wrong ticket.

The win came after Jerry, 53, made his usual trip to the Depew One Stop on Broadway on his day off to buy some cigars and his favorite scratch-off tickets. The clerk mistakenly handed Jerry a $20 Win for Life ticket which he pointed out was the wrong one. After leaving the store with the scratch-offs he had originally gone to the store for, Jerry scratched off the various tickets and ended up winning roughly $25. Feeling lucky, Jerry headed back into the store and said to the clerk “Give me that ticket you almost gave me by accident.”

Jerry, who lives in Erie County, decided to scratch the ticket in the store where he revealed that he had in fact won the top prize of $10 million on a ticket which he had initially declined to buy.

Jerry Kajfasz and his family collecting his check  Image source Facebook.com/NYLottery

Jerry Kajfasz and his family collecting the winning check
Image source Facebook.com/NYLottery

“I just sat there and couldn’t believe it,” Jerry said at the press conference yesterday. “I probably looked over the ticket half a dozen times.” The clerk verified the ticket and Jerry called his wife Anne before also calling his two children to share the news. “He wouldn’t tell me what happened,” said Jerry’s son, Frank, who then asked his dad if he’d won the lottery to which his father replied, “Well, I didn’t want to tell you this way. Come over as soon as possible. I have some champagne.”

Following the win on Saturday January 18, Jerry has retired from his printing job in Amherst which he had held for 27 years to enjoy his new found fortune. At the press conference yesterday, Jerry confirmed that he and his wife will take 86% of the winnings, receiving 19 annual payments of $300,000 after taxes and his son and daughter will receive 7% each, working out at 19 payments of $25,000 after taxes.
Speaking yesterday, Frank said “I won’t believe it is real until I see the money in my account.”

Jerry is Erie County’s first jackpot winner of 2014 and the eleventh New York player to win a prize of $1 million or more so far this year.

by Patrick Fitzgerald
Updated February 26th, 2014

Jan 14

Double Win for Lucky North Carolina Lottery Player

north-carolina-lotteryFriday January 24th 2014 – Keith McClintock of Durham, North Carolina has beaten unfathomable odds to win two significant lottery scratch-off prizes, totalling $1,150,000, in as many years. In April 2012, Keith cashed in on $150,000 with a $5 Aces High ticket purchased at Tommy’s Mini Mart on Cole Mill Road in the Orange County area of Durham, NC. However, he didn’t stop there and this month, less than two years after his first win, McClintock struck lucky again with a $10 Holiday Gold ticket bought from the same store. This time he hit the jackpot and scooped an impressive $1,000,000.

So what does he plan to spend it on? “A couple weeks ago I was talking with my wife about redoing the kitchen,” he said humbly, “so I’m pretty sure that’s at the top of the list.” Despite McClintock’s second success, he plans to continue playing the lottery; “Maybe I’ll get the trifecta,” he said. For the full press release, visit the North Carolina Education Lottery site.

Contrary to what you might expect, Keith McClintock isn’t alone in his remarkable good fortune and he joins a highly exclusive club of two time lottery winners. In November 2013, James Bozeman Jr. became the first person to scoop two Florida Lottery jackpots, beating staggering odds of 1 in 195 trillion. His second multi-million dollar win came just 14 months after the first and, like Keith McClintock, Bozeman purchased both winning tickets at the same store!

To read about more astonishing repeat winners, including a Texan statistician who has claimed FOUR multi-million dollar jackpots, click here.


by Mike Redfern
Updated January 3rd, 2019

Aug 13

NY Lottery Winner Scammed of $5M Finally Receives Prize

Friday August 30th, 2013 – A lucky New York resident was scammed out of his $5 million win on a NY scratch-off back in 2006 but will finally receive his winnings in the next couple of weeks, seven years after being duped.

Robert Miles of Syracuse bought the scratch-off ticket in October 2006 at The Green Ale Market store owned by Nayef Ashkar. However, when he returned to the store to check the ticket Nayef’s son, Andy Ashkar, told Miles he had only won $5,000 and kept the winning ticket for himself.

It wasn’t until 2012 when the Andy, along with his brother Nayel, contacted state lottery officials to try and redeem the ticket did Miles come forward and say he was the real winner, promoting the New York Lottery to launch an investigation.

Robert Miles (left) with his lawyer Steve Cambareri Image source Syracuse.com

Robert Miles (left) with his lawyer Steve Cambareri
Image source Syracuse.com

Miles told officials Andy Ashkar had stolen the ticket from him, telling him it was only worth $5,000 and giving him $4,000 and keeping a $1,000 ‘cut’ for the store. At the time Miles was addicted to crack cocaine and, confused by what Andy Ashkar had told him, walked away from the store with $4,000 thinking that without the ticket, it would be the word of a “crackhead” against that of a store owner.

Lottery officials launched an investigation into who the real owner of the ticket was and in the spring of 2013, the case went to trial. Andy Ashkar was found guilty of possessing stolen property and was sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

Earlier this week the Gaming Commission verified that the ticket did belong to Miles, who had been forced to file for bankruptcy in 2008. His lawyer told The Post-Standard of Syracuse that Miles was “elated the lottery prize has finally been awarded to him.”

The winning ticket would have paid the $5 million out as a $250,000 annuity over 20 years but, because of changes in the lottery this year, Miles now has the option to select a cash payout of $3,210,000, which would work out as $2,124,378 after taxes.

Congratulations Miles on finally receiving your win – after hitting the jackpot seven years ago you can now enjoy your millionaire status!

For the latest lottery winning numbers for games across the US, visit Lottery.net.

by Patrick Fitzgerald
Updated November 6th, 2019