07/25/13 12:00pm
07/25/2013 12:00 PM

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Melody Paton of Southampton holds her winning Quick Draw ticket Wednesday.

A Southampton woman won a $20,000 Quick Draw Wednesday at a Riverhead restaurant.

Melody Paton said she had only played the New York Lottery’s Quick Draw game once before, just two days earlier, when she played $5 at the Outerbanks restaurant and won $20,000.

She said she played her newborn grandson’s birthdate, time of birth and other numbers related to her grandson in the winning ticket, and plans to use the money to redo her kitchen.

“It’s found money,” she said.

And yes, she does plan on playing again, she said.

tgannon@timesreview.com

05/14/13 5:30pm
05/14/2013 5:30 PM

CARRIE MILLER FILE PHOTO | A man who tried cashing in a $74,000 lotto ticket at this Valero in Riverside was nearly scammed out his winnings last month.

Two of three local gas station workers accused of trying to scam a construction worker out of $74,000 in Take 5 lottery winnings in April answered to a slew of criminal charges Tuesday in First District Court in Central Islip, authorities said.

Yunis Ozturk

Yunis Ozturk

Southampton Town police initially charged Yalcin Nergiz, 41, Yunis Ozturk, 33, and Orhan Ozturk, 47, with felony grand larceny and conspiracy charges. They were since indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury.

The indictment, which was unsealed in court Tuesday, also levels criminal possession of stolen property charges against all three men. Orhan Ozturk, who’s accused of cashing in the winning ticket with the state, is facing two additional charges of offering a false instrument for filing.

Orhan Ozturk received $48,318, after taxes, after redeeming the winning ticket with the state “on or about” March 19, the indictment reads.

Mr. Nergiz’s arraignment was adjourned to May 21 so that his attorney could appear, prosecutors said.

None of the money has been recovered, authorities said.

Yalcin Nergiz

Yalcin Nergiz

All three men are facing two counts of second-degree grand larceny, the top charge in the indictment punishable by five to 15 years in prison.

Both Yunis Ozturk, who was ordered to be held on $50,000 bail, and Orhan Ozturk, who was ordered to be held on $10,000 bail, pleaded not-guilty to the charges before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho in Central Islip, prosecutors said.

“Nergiz and Yunis Ozturk, working at the Valero Gas Station on Peconic Avenue in Riverside deceived the winner by paying him $774 of the $74,892 payoff when he redeemed the ticket on March 18,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said in a statement before the proceedings.

Orhan Ozturk

Orhan Ozturk

The arrests were made April 19.

Orhan Ozturk, who is Yunis Ozturk’s brother, was working at an Empire gas station on Route 58 at the time. He was recruited by the other two suspects to cash in the winning ticket because of identification he has, law-enforcement sources said.

The trio was supposed to be arraigned in Central Islip on May 8, but those proceedings were delayed due to the need for a Turkish interpreter, prosecutors said.

Lawyers for the men could not be reached for comment.

According to police and the grand jury indictment, a 28-year-old construction worker, whom prosecutors identified as Guatamala native Marvin Choy Nij, brought in several lottery tickets March 18, including a winning Take 5 lotto ticket. The two store clerks cashed in the scratch-offs for a few dollars, and then saw the Take 5 ticket was a winner worth $74,892.

Instead of alerting the man to his winnings, the clerks gave him $774, congratulated him and sent him on his way without offering a receipt that the victim requested, police have said.

The victim, who does not speak or write English, later realized something was amiss after learning that a store is not authorized to hand out winnings above $600, authorities said. He also noticed Riverhead Stationary on East Main Street, where Mr. Nij purchased the winning Take 5 ticket, boasting of a $74,000 winner.

The victim unsuccessfully confronted the clerks at the store and then Southampton Town Police investigated in conjunction with the New York State Lotto Commission, the owner of the gas station and the Suffolk County District Attorney Economic Crimes Bureau, authorities have said.

Mr. Nergiz is being held in a Suffolk County jail without bail until he can appear in court.

Orhan Ozturk had posted bail and was freed later Tuesday.

mwhite@timesreview.com

04/20/13 9:45am
04/20/2013 9:45 AM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A man who tried cashing in a $74K lotto ticket at the Valero in Riverside was nearly scammed out his winnings.

Three Riverhead men attempted to scam a lotto winner out of more than $74,000 he won in a lotto ticket at the Valero Gas & Convenience Store in Riverside, Southampton Town Police said.

Police arrested Yalcin Nergiz, 41, Yunis Ozturk, 33, and Orhan Ozturk, 47, and charged them with felony counts of grand larceny and conspiracy, police said.

A 28-year-old construction worker, whom police did not name, brought in several scratch-off lotto tickets March 18 and a Take 5 Quick Pick lotto ticket. The two store clerks cashed in the scratch-offs for a few dollars, and then saw the Take 5 ticket was a winner worth $74,892.

Instead of alerting the man to his winnings, the clerks gave him $774, congratulated him and sent him on his way without offering a receipt that the victim requested, police said.

One of the clerks gave the winning ticket to his brother, Orhan Ozturk, to cash in so the three men could split the winnings. The victim realized something was amiss after learning that a store is not authorized to hand out winnings above $600. He also noticed the store boasting a $74,000 winner.

The victim unsuccessfully confronted the clerks at the store and then Southampton Town Police investigated in conjunction with the New York State Lotto Commission, the owner of the gas station and the Suffolk County District Attorney Economic Crimes Bureau.

Police arrested the three men Friday. They were charged with second-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree conspiracy, police said.

joew@timesreview.com

07/18/11 10:16am
07/18/2011 10:16 AM

COURTESY PHOTO | Ascension Gonzalez holds a $25,000 check from the New York Lottery.

A Riverhead man recently won $25,000 from an instant lottery ticket purchased at a downtown bodega, New York Lottery officials announced Monday.

Ascencion Gonzalez won the highest payout from the Lottery’s My Money X 5 instant game after purchasing the ticket at 159 Railroad Market July 11, located on Railroad Street near the Riverhead Long Island Rail Road Station. The odds of winning $25,000 from the $2 ticket are 1 in 793,800.

Mr. Gonzalez, a father of five who works as a landscaper, said he would give his winnings to his children. A regular at the market, Mr. Gonzalez told lottery officials he “just felt the ticket was a lucky one” when he bought it earlier this month.

Lottery officials said Mr. Gonzalez bought the winning instant game July 4 and claimed his prize July 11.

Employees at the market did not answer the phone Monday morning.

vchinese@timesreview.com