BOLINGBROOK – After spending nine years and thousands of dollars scratching off lottery tickets, Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce President Michael Carpanzano finally found a winner.
Carpanzano, 27, recently won $200,000 on a scratch-off Blues Bingo lotto ticket – one of $30 worth of tickets he received as a birthday present from his brother, Frankie Carpanzano.
On June 16, Michael and Frankie Carpanzano were celebrating both Father's Day and Michael Carpanzano's birthday – which falls on June 12 – at their parents' home in Melrose Park.
"My family always gives each other scratch-off lotto tickets on holidays and birthdays," Michael Carpanzano said. "Frankie gave my dad and I $30 in lottery tickets and I happened to pick the winning pile."
At first, Carpanzano, a Joliet resident, thought he won only $200; but, after closer inspection, he realized the winning figure contained three extra zeros.
"We immediately put the ticket in a ziplock bag because we didn't know what else to do," Michael Carpanzano said. "We took it to a convenience store, scanned it, and the ticket flashed, 'winner.'"
He admitted that until he verified the ticket – which his brother bought at a 7-11 in Melrose Park – he thought he was being pranked.
Carpanzano will receive his winning check – about $120,000 after taxes – in late July and will then be honored during a ceremonial presentation at an upcoming Chicago Cubs game.
He says he will use his winnings to pay some outstanding bills, maybe put a down payment on a Bolingbrook home and buy toys for his dog, Turbo. But, his foremost expenditure will be treating his family to a vacation in Italy.
"To me, playing the lottery tickets is kind of a family tradition," he said. "On holidays, we always huddle around a table and scratch away at the tickets. I want to do something nice for them, something we can all do as a family.
"I don't think we have taken a family vacation since I was in first grade and we went to Disney World. Plus, my mom is from Italy and hasn't been back since she left 13 years ago. This will be a great opportunity for us to spend some time together."