One New Jersey native is counting her lucky stars after she won a $5 million lottery prize from a scratch-off she didn’t even want to buy in the first place! Oksana Zaharov was shopping in NYC when she decided to purchase a $1 ticket — but the clerk accidentally handed her a $10 one instead.
“When the clerk handed me the wrong ticket, I felt bad so I decided to just go ahead and buy it,” Oksana said in a statement released by the New York Lottery. “I actually used the ticket as a bookmark for a couple of weeks before I decided to scratch it.” When she finally did, she couldn’t believe her eyes. “I never win anything,” she admitted. “I was sure the ticket was fake.”
Now, thanks to that mystery clerk who handed her the “Set For Life” scratcher, the mother-of-two will receive a guaranteed $5 million over the course of 20 years. The money will be distributed over 19 payments of $260,000 ($172,068 after taxes), followed by one payment of $60,000 ($39,708 after taxes). But that’s not all. After two decades, she will continue to receive $172,068 annually for the rest of her life. Talk about #blessed.
Oksana, 46, already has some big plans for the money, including a family vacation to the Bahamas. She is also saving enough to ensure that her kids have “a loan-free college education.” We wonder if she will test her luck again and enter the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot, which is now at a combined $950 million. However, the odds are definitely not in her favor. Her chances of winning the Powerball are one in 292 million, while the Mega Millions is slightly better at one in 259 million. According to CBS News, the odds of winning both are one in 75 quadrillion. In case you’re wondering, there are 15 zeros in a quadrillion. Congrats to Oksana!