East Harlem man wins millions in lottery game

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Sandra Bookman reports from Lower Manhattan. (WABC)

An East Harlem 22-year-old won millions with a scratch-off ticket, claiming the top prize in the Set For Life game.

Fili Rodriguez of East Harlem claimed it just days before his 22nd birthday.

The father of one said he bought the ticket then forgot about it. "I bought a sports drink and a ticket to go with it at the end of a run through Central Park with my uncle," he said.

Rodriguez purchased his ticket at Stop 1 Gourmet Deli at 1775 Lexington Ave. in Manhattan.

"I got home, laid down, took a shower, ate dinner and, after all that, remembered I bought a ticket," said Rodriguez, who describes himself as an infrequent lottery player.

"When I saw the coin, it made me want to scratch a little faster," he said. The coin symbol on Rodriguez's ticket indicated an instant win on the prize shown, which was $5,000 a week for life.

Rodriguez said he told his parents first. "They just told me to be smart about the money," he said. "They just want me to have fun."

Rodriguez opted to receive his prize in a one-time payment of $2,468,752.

He said he doesn't have any concrete plans for the money just yet.

Related Topics:
lotteryeast harlemnew york city newsNew York CityEast Harlem
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