(KRON) — One of California’s newest millionaires was homeless just six years ago. Lucia Forseth recently bought a 2023 Scratchers ticket at a Walmart in the Northern California city of Pittsburg while getting an oil change when she scratched the top prize, lottery officials announced Wednesday.
“I only bought one ticket,” Forseth told the California Lottery. “I closed my eyes and picked that one, and it won! I first thought I’d won a free ticket, but I checked, and it said I won $5 million!”
Back in 2017, Forseth said she was homeless. This year, she plans to get married and complete her associate degree. She also told the Lottery she hopes to buy a house and invest the rest of her winnings.
“You never think you have a chance to win it. It is just random. Being homeless just six years ago, I never thought it would happen to someone like me,” Forseth said.
According to the California Lottery, $5 million is the top prize available to 2023 Scratchers players. The odds of landing the prize are 1 in 3,088,854, and only five prizes at this level are available overall. Two have been claimed as of May 3.
Lucky enough to win the lottery? Do this next
The first thing you want to make sure to do is protect the ticket.
Until it’s signed, a lottery ticket is a bearer instrument, meaning that whoever has the ticket can claim the money.
“That means that they really need to document that they are the owner of the ticket,” Robert Pagliarini, author of “The Sudden Wealth Solution,” told Nexstar. “So I would take a selfie with the ticket, I would take a video of me and the ticket, I would sign the ticket and I would keep that ticket in a very, very safe place.”
Then, insulate yourself with a team of experts. Pagliarini recommends hiring an attorney, tax advisor and a financial advisor. In the meantime, keep news of the big win as quiet as possible.
Pagliarini recommends building a media plan, sharing the news with only one trusted family member at first and staying out of the public eye when possible.