WEST CHAZY - David Fortune, 53, of West Chazy, was handed a giant $5 million prize check today by the New York Lottery's Jina Myers.
Despite having a last name that speaks of wealth, Fortune was not a millionaire until winning the top prize on the Lottery's $5,000,000 Cash! scratch-off game.
Fortune said he considers himself to be lucky but admitted to almost losing his millions. He initially scratched the ticket "in a rush" and thought it was a non-winner. He put the ticket in a pile of other non-winning tickets and left it there. While sitting in a laundromat days later, Fortune went through the pile a second time.
"I do that a lot," he said. "I comb through my losers looking for winners I missed." He then saw the match on the number 39 and realized it was a $5 million winner.
Fortune claimed the prize on Aug. 20 at the Lottery's Customer Service Center in Schenectady. He bought his winning ticket at Kinney Drugs, 52 Boynton Ave., Plattsburgh.
The prize is paid as a lump sum. Fortune will receive a net check of $3,309,000 after required withholdings.
Fortune said he suffered through many nicknames during his life because of his last name, but he is glad he "finally got the last laugh."