Geneva Resident Keeps $4.85 Million In Cookie Jar

Wins $4,850,000 Illinois Lottery Prize

Ricardo Cerezo with his oversized Lotto check.

Ricardo Cerezo with his oversized Lotto check.

For Immediate Release Contact: Micaela Small 630-486-0658

Geneva, IL—May 15, 2013 —“I can’t believe I had $4.85 million in a cookie jar for over three months!” said Ricardo Cerezo after recently checking some old Lottery tickets and discovering he had won a jackpot prize of $4,850,000 in the February 2 Lotto drawing. “I’m awestruck, this is unbelievable!” Today, Illinois Lottery officials presented him with a commemorative check at the Aurora 7-Eleven where he bought his winning ticket.

At his wife’s urging, Cerezo took 11 tickets that had accumulated in their cookie jar to the store to check them. The first seven tickets he scanned were not winners, but when he placed the eighth ticket under the scanner, the message “File a claim” appeared. “I thought I had probably won about $600,” he said. From there, he double checked the winning numbers on and was shocked to see that his prize amount was not $600, rather $4,850,000.

Cerezo and his wife plan to pay bills, pay off their mortgage and share some of their winnings with their son and daughter. They also plan to contribute to their church and favorite charities. “It is very important to us that we help others with this money.”

According to Cerezo, he has been playing Lotto for several years. The ticket that won the Lotto jackpot was a Quick Pick purchased at 7-Eleven, 2411 West Sullivan Road in Aurora. The store received a bonus of $48,500 for selling a winning ticket. After required state and federal withholding, Cerezo will receive $3,395,000.

When asked if he had advice for other Lottery players, the lucky Lotto winner said, “Play within your means, and when you buy a ticket believe that you can win. And check your old tickets!”


About Illinois Lottery

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $20 billion to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like Illinois Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for Mega Millions, Powerball and Lotto at Players must be at least 18 years old.