Two Flushing residents just got a lot richer thanks to a pair of winning New York Lottery tickets worth millions of dollars.
Vasilios Panagopoulos, a Flushing resident who plays the lottery daily, went to Family Bakery Outlet, located at 77-26 21st Ave. in East Elmhurst, after his family jokingly told him to “play one for us” as he left the house.
However, no one expected that Vasilios was going to bring home a winning ticket worth $6,200,000.
“My father left the ticket on the dining room table and I decided to check the numbers online a couple of days later,” said George Panagopolous, Vasilios’ son. “It was all very weird really. It’s really too much too handle all at once. We were all asking, ‘So what now? What do we do now?’”
The family’s ticket matched all six numbers drawn for the Feb. 28 LOTTO drawing, which were 4-6-10-28-30-53 Bonus number 35, earning them a jackpot of $6,200,000.
The four family members splitting the prize include Vasilios’ wife Dimitra, and his children: George, Menelaos and Peter. Each member of the Panagopoulos family will receive a net check totaling $635,026 after required withholdings.
George said he wasn’t surprised that his father, a retired restaurant owner, gifted them with the winnings from the LOTTO ticket.
“We’re all one unit,” said George. “It’s very important to my father to see us all happy. He has always been very giving.”
“He has always sacrificed for this family,” agreed Dimitra. “We are as one.”
At this time, the Panagopolous family is thinking that they’ll invest their winnings.
“There’s been some talk about opening a new restaurant with the younger generation leading the way. We’ll see,” said George.
Meanwhile, a chef in Flushing also found luck after buying a scratch-off from a local shop.
Zhao Liu, 46, bought a $7,000,000 Cash Blowout scratch-off game from Mitul Quickstop, located at 60-08 Main St. in Flushing. Liu had been playing this game for quite some time, hoping to win a big prize.
Little did he know, Liu was about to win the top prize of $7,000,000.
“I scratched the coin symbol and knew I won right away,” Liu explained through an interpreter. “I tried to remain calm. I put the ticket in my pocket and headed straight home.”
After learning that he’d won, Liu immediately called his wife to tell her the good news.
“I called my wife right away,” said Liu. “She thought I was playing a joke on her.”
Liu will receive his $7,000,000 prize as a one-time lump-sum payment. After required withholdings he will receive a net check totaling $4,431,280.
“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.”