Oksana Zaharov meant to buy a $1 scratch-off lottery at a Manhattan convenience mart. Instead, she was given a $10 Set for Life ticket by accident.
“When the clerk handed me the wrong ticket I felt bad so I decided to just go ahead and buy it,” Zaharov said in a statement.
“I actually used the ticket as a bookmark for a couple weeks before I decided to scratch it.”
She made the right move. The nine dollar mistake ended up being 5 million dollars when Zaharov scratched the ticket to reveal it was a top prize winner.
She couldn’t believe her eyes. “I never win anything. I was sure the ticket was fake,” she said.
“It wasn’t until I brought it into the office that I knew it was for real.” Sure enough, it was the real deal.
On Nov. 1, the New Jersey mom was recognized as a winner by the New York State Gaming Commission.
She is guaranteed a minimum payout of $5,000,000 over the next 20 years.
She will recieve 19 annual payments of $260,000 and an additional payment of $60,000. After that, she will get annual earnings of $172,068 every year for the rest of her life.
Zaharov is excited about her children being able to get college educations debt-free.
First thing’s first though — a celebratory family trip to the Bahamas.
Of course, the story went viral. The accidental winnings make Zaharov the 88th person to claim a prize of 1 million dollars or more from the New York Lottery in the past year alone.
— New York Lottery (@newyorklottery) January 4, 2018
As powerball jackpots continue to soar to record highs, Zaharov’s luck might give some others hope.
The next Powerball jackpot being drawn on January 6, 2018 is $550 million, the eighth largest in history.
Meanwhile, the current Mega Millions top prize is set to be $445 million.
Making it the first time in the U.S. that players have two opportunities to try for jackpots over $400 million.
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