NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York has three new millionaires after lottery winners accepted ceremonial prize checks worth a combined $16.7 million on Thursday.
Yolanda Vega presented the checks to the winners, who represent Long Island, Queens and Manhattan.
Juan Mendez and his wife have a tradition of buying their tickets every Friday after work, normally purchasing tickets for Take5, Powerball and Mega Millions. But on June 30, they decided to take a chance on the LOTTO game. They matched all six numbers for the July 1 drawing and won the $4.7 million jackpot.
"It's kind of funny, because that particular Friday, I didn't really feel like going out to buy our tickets," the 45-year-old warehouse manager from Manhattan said. "I'm sure glad my wife convinced me to go get our tickets that night."
The winning numbers for the July 1 LOTTO drawing were 20-32-40-46-52-54 and Bonus Number 16.
"I checked my numbers on the website and couldn't believe my eyes," he said. "I must have checked the numbers 10 times before I truly believed it was real."
Mendez chose the lump sum option, totaling $2,018,143 after required withholdings.
"Winning this much money is very emotional," he said. "I keep asking myself if it's real."
Mendez said his plans for the money are simple.
"I'm going to pay off all of my outstanding debt and then buy a house for my family," he said. "One with a swimming pool for sure."
Mendez purchased his ticket at Milena Pharmacy on Broadway in Manhattan.
Long Island contractor wins $5 million
Twenty-four-year-old Eric DeBeauchamp, of Center Moriches, was out having lunch with his mom when he decided to take a chance on the lottery. He picked a $5 Million Fortune ticket and became an instant multi-millionaire after hitting the jackpot prize.
"I was out to lunch with mom at a deli and decided to buy a scratch-off ticket to play while we waited," he said. "I chose the $5 Million Fortune ticket because it was ticket number 13 from that book of tickets. Thirteen is a lucky number, so that's the one I went with."
DeBeauchamp scratched the ticket at the table and was shocked.
"I scratched off the automatic win symbol, so I knew I had won something," he said. "When I saw the $5 million prize underneath, I was stunned."
Though shaken, DeBeauchamp kept his cool.
"There were a lot of people in the deli, so I tried to remain calm," he said. "I didn't want to draw attention to myself."
DeBeauchamp purchased his ticket at the Pitstop Pantry on Montauk Highway in East Moriches. He will receive his prize as a one-time lump sum payment totaling $3,309,000 after taxes.
"I've won a couple times before, but nothing like this," he said. "I plan to use the money to buy a new house, take a few vacations and open my own business."
Administrative assistant from Queens wins $7 million
Yangi Sherpa, from Woodside, is the latest lottery player to win the guaranteed $7 million jackpot on the popular CASH4LIFE draw game. She matched all five numbers plus the Cash Ball from the July 17 drawing on a ticket she bought on a whim.
"I was making deliveries for work and decided to buy a lottery ticket," she said. "My father plays all the games and suggested I play CASH4LIFE. Why? I don't know, but I'm sure glad I did."
Sherpa purchased her ticket at Pronto Lotto on 74th Street in Elmhurst.
"I scanned my ticket the following day without really thinking about winning anything," she said. "When it said 'big winner,' I brought it home and checked it four or five times before telling my parents."
The winning numbers for the July 17 CASH4LIFE drawing were: 08-17-27-28-39 and Cash Ball 02.
Sherpa opted to receive her $7 million as a one-time lump sum payment, totaling $4,361,280 after taxes.
"Luck is luck, there is no explanation," she said. "There are lucky people in this world, and today I am one of them."
Sherpa plans to purchase a new house for her family with the winnings.