SCHENECTADY-Hannaford bookkeeper Linda Baker is a real numbers person. The 54-year-old mother of two and proud grandmother of one said even a lifetime of working with numbers could not prepare her for the shock of seeing “1 Million – Jackpot” printed under a winning number on her Lottery ticket.
“I scratched the winning numbers and then my numbers and matched (number) 7 so I knew I won something,” said the four-year Hannaford veteran. “Then, I scratched off the prize amount and saw the ‘1 Million – Jackpot’ and just started shaking. I called my son, but he thought it was a joke.”
Ms. Baker purchased her winning Big Money ticket on April 8 at the Hannaford supermarket on Route 9 in Valatie, where she works as a bookkeeper. After spending a sleepless night thinking about the $1,000,000 Big Money ticket she had hidden in a box on her dresser, Baker claimed her $1,000,000 prize the following day at the Lottery’s Customer Service Center in Fishkill. This was not the first time Ms. Baker claimed a sizable Lottery prize at this location. The self-described “prankster” won a $109,000 cash prize on the Lottery’s Take 5 drawing in 2003.
Ms. Baker plans to continue working. She likened her win on the Big Money instant game to getting a much-needed raise. “I can help my kids financially and pay off some of my own bills,” she said. “And, I can take my granddaughter to Disney just like I’ve always wanted.”
As with most New York Lottery instant tickets, the top prize on the Big Money instant game is paid as an annuity. Baker will receive her $1,000,000 prize as $50,000 a year for 20 years. Her annual net check will total $33,015.
Ms. Baker is the first Lottery player statewide to claim a top prize on the Big Money ticket since the game went on sale March 30, 2010. She is one of six Columbia County residents to claim a Lottery prize valued at $1,000,000 or more to date. Other Columbia County Lottery millionaires include:
- Aleta Taro of Ghent who won a $3,600,000 Lotto jackpot in 1985
- William Garrison, Jr. of Hudson who shared a $25,000,000 Lotto jackpot with 19 co-workers in 1997
- Richard Abatecola of Hudson who won a $19,000,000 Lotto jackpot in 2005
- Pamela Miles of Ancramdale who won $1,000,000 on the $500,000,000 Extravaganza instant game in 2007
- Yvon Fortin of Hudson who won $1,000,000 on the Kamillion instant game in 2007
The New York Lottery continues to be North America’s largest and most profitable Lottery, earning more than $36.7 billion in education support statewide since its’ founding over 40 years ago. The Lottery contributed nearly $2.54 billion in fiscal year 2008-09 to help support education in New York State, which was over 12 percent of total state education funding to local school districts.