A half dozen Long Islanders won more than $9 million combined playing the Lottery, including a couple that initially thought the call informing them of a $6.2 million prize was a scam.

The other winners are another couple that won Mega Millions, a father of three who won Powerball and a man who bought a scratch-off game on a whim.

“We never had any expectation of getting a call like this,” said Dr. Alan Strobel, an anesthesiologist from Jericho and Lotto subscriber since 2003 who had given the ticket to his wife, Tammy Schwartz-Strobel. They plan to donate most of the winnings to charity.

New York State Lottery officials awarded all six their winnings Thursday at the agency’s new Customer Service Center in Plainview.

Andrew Roland, 28, of Bellmore, won $1,000,000 playing a 20X the Cash scratch-off game that his mother told him to buy when he was helping her with car trouble at Sai Gas & Food on Conklin Street in Farmingdale.

He plans to keep his job installing underground gas lines for National Grid and will use the money to take care of his family, make investments and buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend.

Hofstra University Transfer

Robert Blume, 37, was picking up breakfast with a side of Mega Millions and Powerball tickets at Virpa Convenience on Carman Avenue in his hometown of Westbury when he scored a $1,000,000 Powerball second prize.  A project manager for a roofing company, Blume plans to invest the money in his three children’s education and pay off debt.

“We’re big animal people,” said the owner of 10 cats and a dog. “I can see us maybe doing something nice for animals too.”

The other two winners include 60-year-old Hilton Cancel and 55-year-old wife, Alicia, who won a $1,000,000 Mega Millions second prize at Tulip Card & Gift Shop on Tulip Avenue in their hometown of Floral Park. The couple is not sure what they will do with their winnings after they split it.

Hilton said that upon realizing they had won, he “went into a totally different kind of numb.”


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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.