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Staten Island man wins $7 million from scratch-off card days before Christmas

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NEW YORK — Christmas came early for a Staten Island man who won the $7 million jackpot prize of the golden scratch-off lottery ticket.

Rigoberto Mejia Mendoza, 31, was presented the ceremonial check on Wednesday. He said he bought two lottery tickets on Nov. 30 during his lunch break. The tickets costed $25 each.

“I always buy the tickets with the biggest prizes,” Mendoza told the gaming commission.

This time though, the construction company owner got very lucky.

“I scratched off all the numbers and saw a match on the number 16, so I scratched off the prize and saw it was a $7,000,000 win. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I got it!’” Mendoza said.

He said he went home and showed his wife, Josephina, the ticket, and were both in disbelief. They “kept looking at the ticket for a couple of hours and asking themselves, ‘Can this be real?’”

Mendoza said he wants to surprise his children and might tell them on Christmas. He said he plans to use the money to buy a new home for his family.

Mendoza will be receiving the money in a lump sum, a total of a little over $4 million after taxes.