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Forest Hills, Jax Heights men win Lottery millions

A Forest Hills limo driver and a Jackson Heights superintendent are among the latest to have struck it rich with the New York Lottery, winning $4 million in prizes between them.

Gene Futerman, of Forest Hills, left the gym one morning in October and headed to The Center on 108th Street for a cup of coffee and his daily lottery tickets.

When Futerman, a 46-year-old self-employed taxi driver who immigrated to New York from his native Russia in 1990, scratched his tickets in the store, he realized he was a $3 million winner after seeing the word “jackpot” printed on one of his tickets.

“It’s a big relief, a big cushion,” said Futerman, a father of two. “I believe in education. This will pay for my daughters’ education.”

When asked what his first purchase will be, Futerman said he planned to buy some presents, pay some bills and maybe take a cruise.

“I don’t think there will be any major [life] changes, any significant changes,” Futerman said. “I like my job. I meet interesting people and get to talk a lot. I have complete freedom.”

Futerman was joined at a ceremony at Wollman Rink in Central Park to collect his winnings by Jackson Heights superintendent Florencio Guamon, who won $1 million on a lottery scratch ticket.

Guaman came from Ecuador to Queens 15 years ago.

His wife, Rosa, and six of the couple’s eight children still live in Ecuador.

Through an interpreter, Guaman said winning the lottery means being reunited with his family.

“I will bring my family to the United States,” said Guaman, a 60-year-old superintendent for a company that specializes in removing construction debris. “I will have money to give my family a better life.”

Guaman purchased his winning $1 million ticket Nov. 23 during a typical after-work stop at the K & L Dairy Farm store on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, where he is a regular.

“I scratched the ticket and showed it to my friend [the retailer] and we both started jumping around,” he said.

Guaman said he then brought the ticket home to have his son-in-law look at it. The two men then returned to the store to triple-check its authenticity.

“It’s a very emotional thing,” Guaman said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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