Lottery winners from Long Island, Queens split $23.4 million in prizes

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Meet New York's newest millionaires
The New York State Lottery handed out more than $23 million to the state's newest millionaires.

PLAINVIEW, Long Island (WABC) -- Meet New York's newest millionaires!

The newest New York Lottery winners include a family of four from Queens, a chef from Flushing, a construction worker from Brookhaven and an East Islip man who received his winning ticket as a Valentine's Day present.

The Panagopoulos family won the $6,200,000 LOTTO Jackpot after they jokingly asked the family patriarch, Vasilios, to "play one for us."

Vasilios played his daily numbers and left the ticket, purchased at Family Bakery Outlet in East Elmhurst, on the dining room table. A few days later, his son George check the numbers online and found out they matched the February 28 LOTTO drawing.

Vasilios, a retired restaurant owner, gifted the prize to his wife and children, who will each receive $635,026 after required withholdings.

"We're all one unit," George Panagopoulos said. "It's very important to my father to see us all happy. He has always been very giving."

Forty-six-year-old Zhao Yang Liu, of Flushing, claimed the top prize on the $7,000,000 Cash Blowout scratch-off game after purchasing his ticket at Mitul Quickstop in Flushing.

Liu knew he won right away and called his wife, who though thought he was pranking her.

"I hoped and dreamed that someday I would win," Liu said. "I haven't decided how I will spend the money. I will start with paying off my bills."

Instead of candy, the parents of 31-year-old James Fannon, of East Islip, get their son a scratch-off ticket for Valentine's Day.

This year, they really showed their love: The Win $1,000 a Week for Life ticket, purchased at Pequa Spirits in Massapequa Park, was a jackpot winner.

"The first thing I'll do is buy a new car," Fannon said.

Finally, 60-year-old Peter Hess, of Brookhaven, doesn't play the lottery often, but decided to buy a LOTTO ticket at King Kullen in Center Moriches for the January 6 drawing.

Hess, who picked his numbers at random, checked them a few days later and realized he won the $9,200,000 jackpot.

"I went straight home and called my sister in California," he said.

He'll split the money with his sister, Carol Murphy, and each will get $2,113,982 after required withholdings.

"I have no immediate plans for the money. I will use some of it to take care of family," Hess said.


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