Staten Island family gets $72M Mega Millions check

May 3, 2011 2:31:44 PM PDT
A 69-year-old retired New York City Transit Authority driver/dispatcher and his family is now $72 million richer.

The New York Lottery on Tuesday awarded John Gillen and three other winners a total of $77 million in multistate game and instant ticket prizes.

Gillen, a father of three and grandfather of 16 from Staten Island, matched all five numbers and the Mega Ball from the April 15 Mega Millions drawing, earning earning him and his family a lump sum cash payment of $44,700,000. After taxes, that drops to $28 million. Gillen said his winning strategy can be summed up with two words - think small.

"I always check the Mega Ball number first hoping to at least win a few dollars," he said. "That morning, I just kept matching number after number and couldn't believe it. I had my family double check for me because I didn't believe what I was seeing."

Gillen purchased the jackpot winning ticket at his neighborhood Shoprite on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island on April 13, 2011. He claimed the prize at the Lottery's Customer Service Center in Garden City on April 20.

He chose to split the prize with his three children, with each family member receiving a one-time lump sum payment of $11,142,498.50, or $6,925,508.50 after taxes.

The Gillens said they plan to take their time in deciding how to spend their newfound fortunes.

"It's all still sinking in really," he said. "We've always hoped we'd be lucky enough to win the $250,000 second prize so this is, of course, a huge surprise. We'll take our time, make good decisions and donate some of it to a few of our favorite charities. I know we'll enjoy thinking of all the ways we can use it."

Other recent instant ticket Lottery millionaires to receive prize checks today include:

  • Habib Ullah, 41, of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Ullah is cook for KFC. He won $3,000,000 on the $3,000,000 Richer.

  • Barnard Cross, 58, Manhattan. Cross is a supervisor for the US Postal Service. He won $1,000,000 on the New York Lottery Black - Series 2.

  • Edwar Bakhoum, 55, of Ridgewood, Queens. Bakhoum is a parking attendant at the New York Skyport. He won $1,000,000 on Million Dollar Bankroll.

    You can watch the Mega Millions drawing Tuesdays and Fridays on Channel 7, right before Eyewitness News at 11.