Grandma Claims Lotto Just in Time
$23M ticket sat in her car for months
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 3, 2012 5:42 AM CDT
Julie Cervera, third from left, is surrounded by family members in San Bernardino, Calif., Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.    (Damian Dovarganes)

(Newser) – For more than five months—while Julie Cervera struggled to pay a $600 electrical bill, feed her family and keep the cable company from shutting off her service because she couldn't pay—she was a millionaire without knowing it. Meanwhile, her $23 million lottery ticket languished forgotten in the glove compartment of her car. On Thursday, someone texted her a photo of her daughter, Charliena Marquez, buying the winning ticket for her at a Palmdale Liquor store. The photo had been released by lottery officials searching for the mysterious winner of the May drawing.

"I put my 99-cent glasses on, and I had to put two pairs on to see it," said 69-year-old Cervera. Back in May, mother and daughter were driving home together when Marquez felt queasy and asked her mother to pull over so she could buy a bottle of water. Cervera asked her daughter to buy her a lottery ticket, and in the glove compartment it went. "I've got like 200 tickets laying around my house," she said. "I never check my tickets." Cervera is going to take a one-time cash payment of $17.8 million.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
Ultraworld
Nov 4, 2012 9:30 AM CST
A very nice story for a change.
HANKHILL
Nov 3, 2012 12:55 PM CDT
nice story! good luck with the money use it well! just checked my ticket again, nada! oh well next time!
tatsumaki
Nov 3, 2012 11:39 AM CDT
Well, "odement", it's people like you who know nothing. This lady has been on disability for 20 years and adopted 2 disabled kids. That's all very nice for the kids but seriously, what is a person on disability doing adopting disabled kids in the first place? I agree with these other posts. She bought those 200 lottery tickets on taxpayer money...the money those so-called "do-nothing execs" paid. She is also a widow so the "assumption" you make that she's hispanic shows your racist bent. She could be anglo married to a hispanic that passed away. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT- YOU IN FACT ARE THE RACIST BIGOT. Anyone with any sense reading your comments has to scratch their head until they wear a hole to be able to figure out how you can accuse someone voting for Gov. Romney is a "brainwashed lemming". Regardless of political party it IS debatable as to whether the current President should keep his job b/c nothing has changed in 4 years so why keep doing the same thing? Our political system only gives us one other choice so that's what you choose when the other option isn't an option at all. The only frustrating thing is knowing there are people like you that cancel out the vote of informed, intelligent, "real" hard working patriotic citizens.