The winner of the $2.04 billion ticket was previously announced in November, but his identity was not revealed.
Fast forward to early February Edwin Castro, turned in the winning ticket. Castro did not attend a news conference at California Lottery headquarters in Sacramento. Aside from his name, no other information was released. However, lotto officials confirmed that Castro opted to receive the lump sum payment option of $997.6 million.
TMZ is now reporting that a man is claiming he is the rightful owner of the ticket.
“According to legal docs, obtained by TMZ, Jose Rivera says he bought his lottery ticket from Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, CA on November 7 — the day before the big $2.04B drawing.
He says a man by the name of “Reggie” stole the ticket from him the very same day he bought it.”
After the numbers were drawn, Jose says he tried to get Reggie to return the ticket, which allegedly held the winning numbers, but to no avail … with Reggie simply saying it wasn’t a winner, and if found he’d agree to give up half.
Jose says he “refused to be blackmailed” and reported the theft to the CA Lottery and law enforcement.
Fast forward to this month, when a man named Edwin Castro was named the winner of the big prize and reportedly elected to collect the prize as a lump sum of $997.6 million … Jose says he submitted a claim form to the CA Lottery, claiming the ticket had been stolen and asking for an investigation before paying out the winnings.
Jose lists both Castro and Reggie as 2 separate defendants … seemingly insinuating that they both might be liable for failing to hand over the cash, although the details are not clear in the lawsuit.
He’s asking the court for damages and to declare him the winner of the historic $2.04 billion jackpot.”
A lottery spokesperson responded to TMZ.
“The California Lottery is not authorized to investigate criminal activity among its players; such allegations are subject to investigation only by local law enforcement. Should a local law enforcement agency investigate such allegations, Lottery’s only role is to assist in the matter by answering questions and/or providing evidence as allowed under the law.”
They continue, “Further, when it comes to the vetting process for big winners, California Lottery has the utmost confidence in its process for doing so. California Lottery remains confident that Edwin Castro is the rightful winner of the $2.04 billion prize stemming from the Powerball drawing in November of 2022.”