Seema Dhimmer graduated in 2009 from the New York Institute of Technology and like many college grads, she left with quite a few loans. However, that's not a problem for her anymore. This 26-year-old from Nanuet just won $3 million from a New York Lottery Make Me Rich scratch-off ticket.
"I'm definitely a lucky person," she said. "One time I found $100 on the ground. I once found $26 just walking on the beach in Miami. I just seem to find money."
Dhimmer found her winning ticket at the in Nanuet; she's also the daughter of Corner News owners Pravin and Gayatri.
She recalled how she won.
"My parents own the store," she said. "I had come in to visit my dad. I was hanging out with him. One of the customers came in and asked for two tickets of this ticket Make Me Rich. She didn't realize they were $10 so then she gave one back. I took the one that she didn't want."
She stops by the store often, but is only an occasional lottery player.
"She's always played maybe one or two," said customer Bill McKenna. "I'm happy for them. (The parents) put in long shifts there, from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m." He added that the Corner News store has seen two $3 million winners and a $1 million winner in the past.
"I couldn't believe it. I was really excited but I wasn't sure," Dhimmer said about her immediate feelings after scratching off the winning box. "I had my dad check first to see if it was really a winner and it was. We were happy, hugging, we were really excited."
She then called her mother and sisters with the good news
Dhimmer claimed her prize on Sept. 21 at Empire City Casino in Yonkers. The prize is paid as an annuity, with Dhimmer getting $150,000 a year for 20 years. Her annual net check will total $99,045.
"I'll pay off my student loans first," said Dhimmer, who recently began a job as a physical therapist. "And, for fun, I've been thinking about a new car. Either a Lexus or an Audi. I do want to help (my parents) out as much as I can. After that, I definitely want to do something with a charity. I don't know which one yet."
"I'm so happy," said her Dhimmer's mother. "I hope it brings more business to my store."
The New York Lottery says it continues to be North America's largest and most profitable Lottery, contributing more than $3 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011 to help support education in New York State. The Lottery's aid represents more than 15 percent of total state education funding to local school districts.
Lottery revenue is distributed to local school districts by the same statutory formula used to distribute other state aid to education. It takes into account both a school district's size and its income level; larger, lower-income school districts receive proportionately larger shares of Lottery school funding.