The Mega Millions lottery has made many millionaires over the years. Frank Rivera and Ellis Gitlin were in utter shock and disbelief when they saw that their numbers matched and winners of Mega Millions. The retired employee of the New York State Department of Correctional Services, Frank, couldn’t have asked for the lottery win to come at a better time. He can kick back and enjoy his retirement in luxury and style. Ellis is also looking forward to living an easier life with his winnings, too.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” explained Frank when speaking about his Mega Millions win. He added, “I just kept checking my ticket over and over again because I couldn’t process the news. I didn’t think it was real. You know when people say they think they are dreaming? I really thought I was.”
Frank Rivera bought his winning New York State Lotto ticket on the 5th of November, 2016 at a Drug Store on Route 59 in Suffern. He needed the help of his daughter when it came to confirming the win because he simply couldn’t believe it. His daughter, Laura Rivera-Sachs, is a business analyst at a New Jersey manufacturing company.
“At first, when my dad told me what he had just learned, I didn’t believe him. Then I checked the numbers multiple times and saw where the ticket was bought. That’s when I started to believe that it was true,” she explained.
Frank’s winning lottery numbers were 5-11-15-23-26-42 and a bonus ball of 32. Frank and his daughter are sharing the big win. Each of them will get $3,766,686 after taxes.
The other lucky lottery winner in this story, Ellis Gitlin, also from New York, won’t be sharing his winnings with anyone except the taxman!
Gitlin, who said he is a frequent lottery player, elected to receive his prize as a lump sum. After withholdings, that comes to $2,825,815.
“I play Lottery games every week,” he said. “Sometimes I play Mega Millions, but I always buy the Lotto game.” All three are Rockland County residents. The winners were presented with their checks at a ceremony held at Lottery headquarters up in Fishkill.
Ellis is a director of sales for an instrument manufacturer. He bought his winning lottery ticket on the 31st of December, 2016, at a store on 20 Main Street in New York City. “It was a few days before New Year’s Eve and I was out picking up my dry cleaning and getting a haircut,” said Ellis.
The lottery winners numbers were 3-16-25-40-44-50 and the bonus ball 52. He returned to the store three days later to check his ticket, and that’s when he discovered his new reality. He immediately called his wife. “I told her I just won $6.5 million. She didn’t believe me at first and asked me where I was, and then I told her I would come home right away,” said Ellis.
The wonderful part of playing the lottery is that every ticket you buy contributes towards the charity funding lotteries give to organizations. Across America, lotteries distributed over $3.3 billion towards charity organizations, state education, and health care.