Lottery Winner Reflects Three Years Later

With all the hype surrounding this week's humongous drawing, WTOC decided to check in on one local lottery winner.

Everyone who plays their numbers has that hope, but back in 2004 Lenny Panzitta had that hope pan out to the tune of $5-million.

"My first conscious thought was I always knew I was going to win it one day," said Panzitta, laughing. "I just thought it would be for more money."

After taxes and with the lump sum option, that $5-million Lotto South payout was whittled down to a more modest $1.7-million.

"It wasn't enough to really change our life much at all," admitted Panzitta. "I still work, my wife still works. We do the same things we always did."

Panzitta says he still buys lottery tickets today, but isn't sure how exactly how he'd handle a whopping $370-million jackpot: "What you would do if you won that kind of money? I just have no idea."

He says he can understand why some people who win gargantuan amounts end up going downhill.

"Money can't buy you happiness," he said. "Lack of money can buy unhappiness, but money's not going to buy happiness. And if you won enough to completely change your life, and you already had a pretty nice life in the first place, I can see where you'd go on a spiral."

He says wouldn't mind finding out first hand, though.

Panzitta tells WTOC he didn't even realize he'd won until he heard that his grand prize had gone unclaimed a week or two after the fact.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite,