Trials & Litigation

Winning $4.85M lottery ticket saves house of mortgage foreclosure defendant


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On Feb. 12, Ricardo Cerezo was in an Illinois courtroom for a hearing in the mortgage foreclosure case on his Geneva home. The judge gave the management consultant and his wife a few more months to find another place to live.

Since then, their fortunes have improved and it appears that the two will be soon be living in their home, mortgage-free, after discovering they were holding a winning $4.85 million lottery ticket in a cookie jar at the time of the hearing, the Chicago Tribune reports.

At his wife’s urging, Cerezo took a number of old lottery tickets from the cookie jar and checked them at a convenience store. The first eight or nine were worthless, but Cerezo was pleased to discover he had won $3 on one. Then the last one he checked, from the Feb. 2 Lotto drawing, said he would have to file a claim, which meant it was worth a minimum of $600.

When he checked the ticket against the winning numbers online, he was stunned to discover that all six matched. The next day he called in sick and drove to Chicago to turn it in. By then he wasn’t worried about potentially losing his job, Cerezo told reporters at a Wednesday press conference.

“It couldn’t have happened at a better time,” he said of the Lotto win.

He and his wife plan to use the money to pay off the mortgage in full, buy new cars and make contributions to charity, CBS Chicago reports.

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