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Preacher Orders Woman to Burn Winning Lottery Ticket

December 2, 1994

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) _ An unemployed maid and mother of seven burned a winning $60,000 lottery ticket because her minister said she would go to hell if she took the devil’s money.

Maria Benoiza Nascimento, 39, said she was ″confused″ by the warning from her minister at an Assembly of God church in Fortaleza, 1,200 miles northeast of Brasilia, the Correio Braziliense newspaper reported Friday.

The minister, identified only as Preacher Wagner, reportedly said her plane would crash and Mrs. Nascimento would ″sink in sin in hell″ if she tried to receive the prize of 50,000 reals, worth about $60,000.

″Destroy the ticket - the devil’s work - to save yourself from the hellfire,″ the minister was quoted as saying, as the congregation chanted ″Burn, burn, burn.″

Mrs. Nascimento went home to her one-room shack and burned the ticket, whose winning number was announced Nov. 15. Then, for good measure, she burned her identification card and her children’s birth certificates.

Her husband, also unemployed, beat her and left home when he found out, the newspaper reported. It said three of the Nascimentos’ children have pneumonia, another has a heart ailment and the family survives on handouts from neighbors.

A contrite Mrs. Nascimento said she would ask the SBT television network, which ran the lottery, to validate the prize anyway.

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