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January 03, 2018

N.J. woman wins $5 million after store clerk sells her wrong lottery ticket

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Zaharov Set for Life lottery Source/New York Lottery

Oksana Zaharov, 46, from Edgewater, N.J., wins $5,000,000 from $10 Set for Life lottery ticket.

A New Jersey woman is going to be made in the shade for the rest of her life thanks to the absent-mindedness of a store clerk and her own kind-hearted decision not to point out his mistake.

Oksana Zarahov, a 46-year-old mother of two from Edgewater in Bergen County, recently was shopping in Manhattan when she decided to pick-up a $1 scratch-off New York Lottery ticket.

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The store clerk accidentally handed her a $10 Set for Life ticket, which promises up to $5,000 a week for the rest of a winner's life.

“When the clerk handed me the wrong ticket I felt bad so I decided to just go ahead and buy it,” Zaharov told lottery officials. “I actually used the ticket as a bookmark for a couple weeks before I decided to scratch it.”

When Zaharov did eventually scratch the ticket, she was skeptical, she said.

"I never win anything. I was sure the ticket was fake," Zaharov said. "It wasn’t until I brought it into the office that I knew it was for real.”

For the next 19 years, Zaharov will receive annual payments of $260,000 (net $172,068) and one additional payment of $60,000 (net $39,708). She'll then continue to receive an annual net payment of $172,068 for the rest of her life.

Zaharov said she plans to take her family on a vacation to the Bahamas, but she's most excited by the assurance that her children will be able to have a loan-free college education.