Did a Ridgefielder win a million-dollar lottery?
By Kerry Anne Ducey
Indeed. Fabian Mazuera will never forget what happened on Tuesday, October 18, 2011. He became an instant multi-millionaire. Out of 7.1 million people who purchased Connecticut Lottery Classic Lotto tickets that day, Mazuera says, “I was the only one holding the winning ticket.” And how much was that worth? $9.7 million. Had he not won the lottery that day, Mazuera and his son, a fourth-grade student at Scotland Elementary, would have been homeless. “I was going to get kicked out of my apartment because I was six months behind on rent. We were going to move in with my mom in Danbury,” he admits. “I was on welfare, food stamps, and Connecticut Energy Assistance.”
Mazuera has been purchasing ten dollars worth of tickets from the BP gas station on Danbury Road every Tuesday and Thursday evening for three years. “My mom told me that I had a better chance of winning if I kept the same numbers every week, so that’s what I did,” explains Mazuera. And on those nights at 10:38 p.m., he turned his TV on to channel 17 to watch the live lottery drawing. But the night he won, he did things a little differently.
“I almost forgot to buy my tickets. I ran out to buy them at 9:45 that night.” Then, he neglected to watch the live drawing. “I was watching the news,” says Mazuera. It was almost midnight when Mazuera finally sat in front of his computer and logged onto the CT Lottery website. “When I saw one number, then two, then the last three together I just laughed so hard I fell back in my chair. I woke my son up and I was like, ‘Dude, we’re millionaires!’” exclaims Mazuera.
Mazuera’s situation was so dire that, even after he found out he had won the lottery, he was unable to drive to CT Lottery offices in Rocky Hill to claim his winnings. “I didn’t think my car would make it because it was in such bad shape,” he says. Instead, he waited a day, rented a car and along with mother, brothers, and son headed to Rocky Hill. “I wanted to go there quietly, cash it, and not make a big spectacle,” says Mazuera. No such luck. Upon arriving at the lottery headquarters, he was greeted with balloons, flowers, and a news crew.
Classic Lotto’s jackpot prize is payable as a 21-year annuity or as a one-time lump sum. Mazuera chose the lump sum and was handed a check for $4.5 million. “I didn’t have a bank account,” admits Mazuera, who drove to Fairfield County Bank to open an account.
Mazuera’s plans? “I need time to think and to get my life in stable condition,” says Mazuera. “I like to cook, so maybe I’ll open a little bistro here in Ridgefield,” he adds.
By the way, Mazuera continues to play Classic Lotto. “If I stick with the same numbers, I’ll win again,” says Mazuera.