Today: 26.05.2018
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Unemployed Bronx man wants to keep $5M lottery win a secret.

He’s the luckiest man in the city’s poorest borough and he wants to stay that way. An unemployed Bronx man — who doesn’t even have a bank account — became an instant millionaire last month when he scratched off a winning $5 million lottery ticket. But the stuff of dreams quickly turned to sudden panic...
Time: 20:12     Date: 16.05.2018
Metro News: Unemployed Bronx man wants to keep $5M lottery win a secret. NY Post 24 - US News

An unemployed Bronx man — who doesn’t even have a bank account — became an instant millionaire last month when he scratched off a winning $5 million lottery ticket.

But the stuff of dreams quickly turned to sudden panic when he went to claim his prize — only to learn that he can’t collect the windfall without taking part in a press conference that will let everyone in the neighborhood know he’s loaded.

Now the Norwood man plans on protecting his assets — and himself — by demanding that the state Gaming Commission, which runs the New York Lottery, keep his identity a secret from the predators he worries will steal or scam his new-found fortune. And if the commission doesn’t, he plans to sue.

“Where I grew up, everybody knows me. All these people would know and I’m afraid they might come for me,” the father of one told The Post.

“Everybody who knows me knows I’m too nice. And I don’t want to be taken advantage of.”

The former Little Caesars pizza worker bought the golden ticket at a Mosholu Parkway liquor store on April 24 while shopping for an outfit for his upcoming birthday.

The winning $5 million lottery ticket.

But he forgot about it until he pulled his pants down while in the bathroom and saw it sticking out of his back pocket. He scratched all the numbers while sitting on the toilet and saw that he’d won — then methodically revealed the prize amount.

“I scratched from front to back. Five — it had a comma, so I’m like, it’s probably $5,000. Then it had another comma. My mind blew,” said the slightly built 24-year-old.

“I put the ticket down, and I just started jumping all over the house. I’m like, ‘I won $5 million!

“I just couldn’t believe it. It still doesn’t register — maybe it will when I have the money,” he added.

It was a life-changing moment for the lifelong New Yorker, who was raised by a single mom working two jobs, at McDonald’s and Burger King, to make ends meet.

He spent his childhood bouncing around different homes and moved out at 16 to ease the burden on his family, he says.

Now he wants to buy a house for his mom and another one for himself and his 28-year-old brother.

The unmarried dad also plans to set aside some cash for his 4-year-old daughter, invest $1 million for the future, and dreams of opening an auto mechanic garage.

But state lottery officials told him he can’t do any of that without first posing for photos with an oversized check at a press event on May 24 — something all New Yorkers who win more than $1 million in the lottery have to agree to before they can collect.

It’s even written on the back of the scratch card.

“In claiming the prize, winners must sign a claim agreeing to attend the press conference,” said state Gaming Commission spokesman Brad Maione, “We don’t have any provisions for anonymity.”

In New Hampshire, the judge agreed big winners are often subject to “repeated solicitation, harassment, and even violence.”

“I’m sure he’ll be forever hounded,” said the Bronx man’s attorney, Andrew Plasse. “It’s a really bad idea to identify people. They might not get harmed right away, but one, two years down the road, they might get robbed.”

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. Abraham Shakespeare, of Florida, won $30 million in 2006 — and was killed two years later by a woman who tricked him into control over his wealth.

Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in the Illinois lottery in 1996 — and was later kidnapped and murdered by his sister-in-law.

Additional reporting by Ruth Brown

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