Ralph Amendolaro, 50, noticed the digits under Madoff's mug on the front page of the Daily News the day after he pleaded guilty - 61727-054. He stopped at a corner store near his home on March 13 and played last three digits in New York State's "Numbers" lottery game.
His earnings -- which may be more than Madoff's other investors get these days -- was a $1,500 prize for $9 spent. That's a 16,000% return -- better than even what Madoff had promised.
Amendolaro told The Daily News he planned to hand a chunk of the cash over to his wife for a 50th birthday trip to Las Vegas with friends. He said he doubted that Madoff would be happy with his role in Amendolaro's good fortune.
"He'll probably want a cut."