Fortune cashes in - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Fortune cashes in

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David Fortune walked out of the Kinney Drugs on Boynton Avenue in Plattsburgh Friday -- not with a prescription -- but his pockets filled with cash.

"You always look to win the jackpot, but you never really think you are going to," he said.

The 53-year-old says he has won thousands playing the lottery over the years. He mainly buys scratch off tickets, claiming the chances of winning are better. Fortune's largest single prize until today... "Probably a thousand dollars in Vermont," he said.

But a $20 investment to purchase a "$5,000,000 Cash!" scratch-off ticket -- a game he regularly plays, turned into an instant fortune for the man from West Chazy, New York.
"I think I came here to get laundry detergent," he said.

The odds of winning the grand prize are one in 2.8 million. The father of two grown children gets to keep $3.3 million dollars after taxes. Enough for him to retire early from his manufacturing job. "I'm still going to go there and train the new guy," Fortune said.

The million dollar question -- how does Fortune plan on spending his new $3.3 million dollar fortune. "I have some charities and local things that I give to and I go to church," he said. "Maybe get a new vehicle."

It's money that Fortune almost threw in the trash. The ticket had been in his car for more than a week last month and he was giving it one last look while sitting at the laundromat.  "I thought it was a losing ticket, so I stuck down in the seat with all my other losing tickets. Didn't even remember where I bought it. I probably had 20 or 30 other losing tickets down there," he said. "I check them before I throw them out for this very reason."

"Generally about two percent of prizes go unclaimed in any fiscal year--last year it was around $36 million," said Jina Myers, a N.Y. Lottery Spokeswoman.

Fortune says his "unfortunate" last name has made him the center of many jokes.  
"When I was a kid -- fortune cookie, fortune teller, wife was a misfortune," he laughed.

But now Fortune has the last laugh.

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