SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Dutchess County has a new multimillionaire, thanks to a scratch-off state Lottery ticket purchased in Rhinebeck earlier this month.
According to the New York Lottery, Catherine Sakal, an accountant, became the state Lottery's first millionaire of 2016.
Sakal won the $5 million top prize on the Cash X100 scratch-off ticket which she purchased in Rhinebeck.
Sakal chose to receive her prize as a one-time lump sum payment totaling $3,309,000 after required withholdings. She was presented her ceremonial prize check by Yolanda Vega on the stage that made the Lottery personality famous.
Sakal said she enjoys playing Lottery scratch-off tickets for their entertainment value.
“My motto is fun first,” Sakal said. “I play the bigger tickets for the chance at bigger payouts.”
Sakal’s winning ticket contained matching 17s -- earning her the biggest payout possible on that particular game.
“When I saw the matching 17s, I started laughing and crying all at the same time," Sakal said.
Sakal was en route to the gym when she decided to stop for Lottery tickets.
“After I scratched off the $5 million winning combination, I decided to skip the gym and head straight home to show my husband, William," she said.
Once she got home, Sakal said it took her husband some convincing. “He looked it over a few times and finally realized it was for real," she said.
Sakal bought her ticket at Rhinebeck Food & Gas on Route 9G in Rhinebeck.
She claimed her jackpot prize on Jan. 4 at the Lottery’s Schenectady Customer Service Center.
“William and I are very down to earth people so this money won’t change us. It will offer a little bit of a cushion for the future and of course we’ll take care of our family.” When asked of any other plans for the winnings Sakal replied, “I might trade in my Kia for another car model – maybe a Honda CRV.”
The New York Lottery said it contributed $41,755,794.14 in Lottery Aid To Education to school districts in Dutchess County during fiscal year 2014-15.