Local Woman Cashes in with Royal Riches


New York State Lottery officials confirmed this week that Laverne Mitchell of Westhampton Beach won $3 million with a Royal Riches scratch-off game that she purchased last Wednesday, March 12.

“My birthday was on Friday,” said Ms. Mitchell, who turned 55 on March 14. “This was my birthday present.”

Ms. Mitchell said she bought the $10 matching numbers game at the 7-Eleven on Sunset Avenue in Westhampton Beach last Wednesday morning before going to work at the Westhampton Beach Elementary School cafeteria, where she has been employed for the past 12 to 14 years. She scratched the winning ticket at work and had her boss and another co-worker check it.

“I slid onto the floor when I saw it,” Ms. Mitchell said. “I didn’t believe it.”

Ms. Mitchell said she was so surprised that last Wednesday she went back to the 7-Eleven to have a clerk scan her ticket and confirm it as a winner.

Last Thursday, March 13, Ms. Mitchell said she went to the New York State Lottery Long Island Regional Claim Center in Garden City and had the ticket confirmed officially. She said officials told her she would receive her money—estimated to be between $1.5 million and $2 million after federal and state taxes—within three weeks.

“The overall odds of winning some type of prize on Royal Riches are one in four, and the odds of hitting the jackpot are 3.1 million to one,” said John Charlson, a spokesperson for the New York State Lottery.

Ms. Mitchell said she has been spending about $100 a week on scratch-off tickets, and had been “winning a couple of dollars here and there over the last couple of weeks.” Even though she will soon become a millionaire, Ms. Mitchell said she still buys scratch-off games, though she now sticks with the $1 variety.

“There’s no lucky streak in my family,” said Ms. Mitchell, who has six siblings, four children and 13 grandchildren.

After collecting her money, Ms. Mitchell said she intends on taking a cruise, buying a new car and purchasing a new house in the Westhampton Beach area. She also intends to pay off some bills.

She said that her family, as well as her coworkers at the elementary school cafeteria, were happy to hear about her good fortune.

“She’s still the same person and is still working. She hasn’t changed and has the same attitude,” said Darlene Johnson, who has worked with Ms. Mitchell for the last two years at the Westhampton Beach Elementary School. “It couldn’t have happened to a better person.”

Ms. Mitchell said she plans on staying at the cafeteria for at least the remainder of the school year. She added that she is not ready to make any decisions beyond that.

A clerk at the 7-Eleven on Sunset Avenue said there has been an increase in the number of scratch-off tickets purchased by customers after word began to spread about the winning ticket.

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