KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “In 1996 and 1997 my numbers were always the pick three,” Marva Wilson recalled with a big laugh.
For years, one of Marva Wilson’s favorite pass-times has been playing the lottery.
“I just like it. It’s so much fun, trying to win. I don’t play the Powerball unless it get’s up there,” Marva chuckled.
During the summer of 2008, Marva won more than $2 million playing the Missouri Lottery.
“I bought two tickets before I left the grocery story,” the now 68-year-old great-grandmother recalled.
However, two years after hitting the big one, Marva says she got bilked by a money-hungry scammer.
“This woman pretended to be my friend and she knew my daughter. Freya Pearson was only supposed to do two things for me: help me put a lien on the house and she said she would do my income taxes for $500,” Wilson lamented.
However, federal prosecutors say 44- year-old Peason, who used to live in Kansas City, orchestrated a scam and convinced Marva Wilson to transfer more than $400,000 of her winnings into a bank account for a non-profit Pearson set up.
“My eyes weren’t totally opened and she tricked me to get all my money, ” said Marva.
Marva says Pearson duped her out of money she dreamed of using to send her grandkids to college, repairing her home and investing in her life savings.
“One time I called her and she said she was about to board a plane, and, I thought yeah with my money,” said a frustrated Marva.
In court on Wednesday, a judge sentenced Freya Pearson to five years in prison for fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and other charges.
“I wish she had gotten more than than, at least 10 or 20 years. This woman destroyed my life and my happiness I dreamed for my grandkids. When I was in court, I was so angry just looking at her, ” added Marva.
Wednesday night as she held on to three Powerball tickets and dreamed up possibly winning the $435,000,000 that’s up for grabs, Marva also had a message for any future lottery winner.
“Be very careful, be smart and don’t fall for any of those con artists out there. There are so many smooth talking, slick people out there who will do anything to get your money,” said the great-grandmother who admits she’s still very mad at Freya Pearson.
Update: One person who purchased their Powerball ticket in Kansas has won $1-million. Click here to check your numbers.