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Staten Island Mega Millions Winner: ‘I Just Couldn’t Believe What I Was Seeing’

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island woman who was caught up in Powerball fever ended up becoming a Mega Millions winner.

On Jan. 8, Nancy Viola told her husband to stop on his way home from work and buy some Powerball tickets as that jackpot swelled to $900 million. After buying the tickets, he had a dollar left over, which he decided to spend on a Quick Pick ticket for that night’s Mega Millions drawing.

The next day, Viola, checked her numbers and realized she won the $169 million Mega Millions jackpot.

“The first thing I did was look at the Mega Ball, and the numbers matched up. Then I looked at the rest of the numbers, and they matched up too. I think I almost had a heart attack,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing, so I asked my husband to come over to look….and he was in shock too.”

Viola opted for the one-time lump sum payment of nearly $65 million, after taxes.

“There are no words to describe it. I still can’t believe it. It’s surreal, but exciting and wonderful at the same time,” Viola said. “I’ve thought about my plans, and I want to make some investments and just be secure for the future.”

Meanwhile, Friday night’s Mega Millions jackpot has grown to $415 million, the third-largest ever for the game.

A Staten Island woman who was caught up in Powerball fever ended up becoming a Mega Millions winner.

A look back at Staten Island lottery winners of 2016

Gallery: Staten Island lottery winners throughout the years

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — When it comes to hitting the jackpot, this borough is a hot spot: In this decade, more than 35 New York Lottery winners hailed from Staten Island.

Last year alone, the lotto brought beaucoup bucks to four S.I. players. Here’s a look back at those who made bank in 2016:

Eduardo Reyes of Great Kills became $7 million dollars richer in April, thanks to the purchase of a $25 lotto ticket. The winning ticket was purchased at the Liquor Depot on Forest Avenue in West Brighton.

“I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me,” said the Colonnade Diner’s head chef. “I scanned the ticket at the store to be sure, but it wasn’t working that day. I brought the ticket home and put it in a safe place.”

Reyes said he’s putting his winnings toward a new home for his family: “I’m staying in Staten Island. I’ve lived there 33 years now, it’s my hometown.”

Nancy Viola, a homemaker from Staten Island, told her husband to purchase $10 worth of Powerball tickets on Jan. 8.

Instead, he went to 2520 Foodmart on Victory Boulevard in Willowbrook with $31 in hand and purchased “$20 worth of Powerball tickets, $10 worth of Mega Millions games and the $1 winning Mega Millions game.”

Viola was recognized for her win at a press conference, alongside New York Lottery’s Yolanda Vega, on June 30. On behalf of her limited liability company, The Orbity Fund, LLC, Viola chose to receive her prize in one lump sum.

“I still can’t believe it,” she said at the time. “It’s surreal, but exciting and wonderful at the same time. I’ve thought about my plans, and I want to make some investments and just be secure for the future.”

A look back at Staten Island lottery winners of 2016 Gallery: Staten Island lottery winners throughout the years STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — When it comes to hitting the jackpot, this borough is a