USA | Feb 26, 2023

Lottery winner or thief? ‘Lucky’ US$2-billion Powerball ticket holder facing lawsuit

Zemelyah Shaw

Zemelyah Shaw / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Edwin Castro, a resident of a small town in the United States decided to try his luck and purchase a lottery ticket. Little did he know that he would end up winning the US$2-billion jackpot, making him an instant billionaire and changing his life forever.

Castro’s winning of the Powerball jackpot was a remarkable feat that has captured the attention of people worldwide. The magnitude of his win is staggering, and has generated a lot of excitement and buzz within the lottery community and beyond.

In a shocking turn of events, however, a California man has filed a lawsuit against Castro, claiming that the prize winning US$2-billion ticket was stolen. The lawsuit has now raised questions about the legitimacy of Castro’s win.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff, Jose Rivera, alleges his winning ticket was stolen by a man named ‘Reggie’. Interestingly, however, Rivera did not explain the circumstances of the alleged theft or how exactly it related to Castro, according to court documents obtained by TMZ.

According to Rivera’s claim, ‘Reggie’ informed him that the ticket was not a winning one and that, even if it were, he would only give it back to Rivera if they shared the prize equally, with a 50/50 split.

As per the court records, Rivera stated that he declined to be coerced and notified law enforcement authorities and the California Lottery about the purported theft. He insisted on an inquiry before the award was disbursed. 

The lawsuit has been met with skepticism by the authorities and the public, who question the validity of Rivera’s claims. The California Lottery has stated that it has thoroughly investigated the matter and has found no evidence to support the plaintiff’s allegations. It also noted that the ticket was purchased in a different state, further complicating the matter.

Castro, for his part, has vehemently denied the allegations and has expressed his shock and disbelief at the lawsuit. He has stated that he purchased the ticket himself and that he has the proof to back it up. He has also said that he is willing to cooperate with any investigation to clear his name.

Castro was absent from the Valentine’s Day press conference where he was declared the winner, and he declined any media interviews. He chose to receive the lump sum cash payout of US$997.6 million. Rivera has named both Castro and ‘Reggie’ as separate defendants and once again is yet to specify their involvement in the alleged theft. Rivera is seeking compensation and requesting the court to recognise him as the true winner. 

According to Carolyn Becker, a spokesperson for the California Lottery, the organisation is confident that Edwin Castro is the legitimate winner of the US$2.04-billion Powerball prize from a November 2022 draw, and all prize winners undergo a thorough verification process. Becker also emphasised that the California Lottery is not authorised to investigate criminal activities among players, and any such allegations must be investigated by local law enforcement. The Lottery’s responsibility is to assist in the matter by answering questions and providing evidence as allowed under the law.

The lawsuit against Castro has raised important questions about the integrity of the lottery system. While the allegations have not been proven, they serve as a reminder that the lottery is not immune to fraud and that safeguards must be put in place to protect the integrity of the game. It is now up to the California Lottery ensure it has conducted a thorough investigation and maintain public confidence in the lottery system.

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