Lotto Winner in Cookie Jar: Winning Ticket in Jar

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
May 16, 2013 Updated: May 16, 2013

Lotto winner in cookie jar: A suburban Chicago man who says he had a mountain of bills and was facing eviction is now a multi-millionaire thanks to a lottery ticket he bought months ago and only recently found in a cookie jar in his kitchen.

Richard Cezero of Geneva said his wife threatened to throw out some old lottery tickets that he was keeping in a cookie jar, so he decided to check them.

“The last ticket said, ‘file a claim.’ Not a congratulations, not an amount, just said ‘file a claim,” Cerezo said, according to NBC. It turned out to be worth a lot.

On Wednesday, the Illinois Lottery handed Cezero a large commemorative check for $4.85 million — the result of matching all six numbers in the Feb. 2 Lotto drawing.

Cerezo had bought the Quick Pick ticket at an area convenience store and took them to a nearby gas station to scan them. It was then he discovered he’d won.

He said while he was turning in the old tickets he realized what was happening.

“As each number kept matching, the smile kept going higher and higher. And when I realized we had all six numbers, it was that shocking moment of , ‘Whoa, can this really be?’ ” he said in a news conference Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Fast forward to the next day, Monday: Called in sick from work, went down into Chicago. It’s one of feelings where it’s okay if they fire me.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.