Lottery Jackpot Winners Advised to Get Expert Help | NBC Bay Area

Lottery Jackpot Winners Advised to Get Expert Help



    (Published Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013)

    Don't spend it all in one place.

    That's the advice from Al and Carmen Castellano, a Saratoga couple who hit a $141 million  jackpot 12 years ago.

    The Castellanos went into seclusion for about four days to strategize how to handle their new wealth. And today, they're still rich, and they still give some of their money away.

    The Castellano family still holds onto the newspaper clippings from that fateful day in 2001.

    "Well I checked the numbers about a million times, and took me about an hour to wake up Carmen and tell her they were real," Al said. "I was just mystified. Couldn't believe it."

    The couple told their children and disappeared from San Jose for a few days before turning in the winning ticket.

    MORE: Winning $640M Mega Millions Ticket Purchased in San Jose

    "We're fortunate one of our daughters has an MBA. So she understands finance. Her husband is a CFO," Carmen said. "So they were helpful in finding an attorney, finding a banking institution, and found an accounting firm."

    Al and Carmen also hired a publicist to deal with the media onslaught.

    An expert tells NBC Bay Area an estimated 70 percent of people who win it big end up losing it all in a matter of years.

    The trick, according to the Castellanos, is finding expert help quickly, and surrounding yourself with people you trust.

    "Just be very careful the way you spend your money," Al said.