Friday, 05 September 2014 00:00

Body Shop Owner's Forgotten Lottery Ticket is a $2.9 Million Winner

A missed step in Jerry Ritieni's routine on July 19 almost cost him close to $3 million.

When the Extreme Auto Body owner stopped at Cumberland Farms in Syosset, NY to buy a $10 Quick Pic lottery tickets, he placed the winning numbers in his center console, instead of their usual spot -- on his visor mirror. Ritieni found the tickets a month and a half later while searching for his Vermont house keys. After entering the numbers online at his shop, he became a millionaire in the blink of an eye.    

"I'm a joking kinda guy, so my son, friends and employees didn't believe that I had won the lotto, until I sped out of the parking lot," said the Massapequa local. "Kenny [an employee] said, 'I think he's serious, he hasn't left the shop during business hours in 22 years, and he's been gone for almost an hour!'"

Ritieni, 48, says he will continue to work.

"The money is life-easing, not life-changing," Ritieni explains. "I never had a retirement plan, which was always a concern of mine, so it's nice to have that taken care of."

Ritieni's 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son are his priorities, specifically their college tuition. He also bought the building next door to his shop for expansion purposes.

"I drove into a Maserati dealership next door to the lottery office while my son was in the car, just to mess with him," said Ritieni.

Ritieni said he's happy with the way the community responded to his win.  

"I live by my father's words: Be honest, be fair, and do the right thing and you'll be fine," said Ritieni. "A lot of the locals said I won because of good karma and I believe that to be true."

Ritieni said he is not affiliated with any insurance companies or DRPs, and that the costumer is the priority.

"Every body wants to make a living, but money is not my driving factor," said Ritieni. "I don't believe in taking advantage of people. At my shop, every body gets what they paid for, and every body gets treated the same."

After a cash buyout and tax deductions, Ritieni collected $1.3 million.

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