Ricardo Cerezo, Facing Eviction, Finds $4.85 Million Lottery Ticket

Ricardo Cerezo of Geneva, Ill., with lottery ticket that saved him from foreclosure

Man about to lose his home, finds lottery ticket and wins millions of dollars: It's the stuff of dreams, right? Well for Ricardo Cerezo of Geneva, Ill., that scenario was a reality.

In February, Cerezo appeared at a foreclosure hearing where he was told he had mere months before his family was to be evicted from his home, the Chicago Tribune reported. Three months later, Cerezo's wife was cleaning out the kitchen and asked Cerezo to tend to the stash of old lottery tickets that had been piling up in a glass cookie jar over the past month -- an "old habit" he had, according to ABC News. "It was either take them, get them checked, or she was going to trash them that night," Cerezo told the Chicago Tribune.

So Cerezo took the tickets to a 7-Eleven nearby and had them scanned. The first eight or nine tickets didn't yield any results, one yielded $3. "The last ticket said, 'file a claim.' Not a congratulations, not an amount, just said 'file a claim," NBC Chicago reported Cerezo as saying.

He went home to check the numbers online and was shocked to discover that he might be a big winner. "So I called my son over, and I asked him to double check this," Cerezo told Chicago TV station WGN. "And he looked it through and said 'Yes, it looks like a winner.' " The Illinois Lottery confirmed that the piece of paper was worth a whopping $4.85 million. Needless to say, Cerezo's family is no longer facing foreclosure: They'll pay off their house in full, Cerezo said, and will even have some change left over.

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