- A man is suing the winner of the $2 billion Powerball jackpot alleging the ticket was stolen.
- Edwin Castro was identified as the historic winner in February.
- Jose Rivera alleged he bought the ticket and a third man known only as Reggie stole it from him.
The historic Powerball jackpot that captivated the country last year is back in the news this week amid a brewing legal battle between the lucky winner and a man who alleges the life-changing lotto ticket was stolen from him.
Edwin Castro, 31, was named the winner of California’s record-breaking $2.04 billion jackpot in February and opted to accept a lump sum payment of $997.6 million after cashing in on his winning ticket.
But amid Castro’s shock and celebration, another California man, Jose Rivera, called into question the legitimacy of Castro’s big win.
In a civil complaint filed in February in the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Alhambra courthouse earlier this year, Rivera alleged that it was he who purchased the winning Powerball ticket — not Castro. Now Rivera is suing Castro, the California State Lottery Commission, the State of California, and another man identified in the suit only as Reggie, whom Rivera says stole his winning ticket.
According to the civil complaint reviewed by Insider, Rivera said he bought the lotto ticket on November 7, one day before the winning numbers were drawn, at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California.
Rivera accused Reggie of stealing the ticket soon after he says he purchased it, but court documents did not detail how the alleged theft took place.
An attorney for Rivera told The New York Post this week that Reggie “took it from a table.” Lawyers for Rivera did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Even before the winning numbers were announced, Rivera alleges he asked Reggie to return the ticket several times, but the latter refused, according to the complaint. Rivera continued his requests after the jackpot numbers were drawn, court documents say, but Reggie told him the ticket wasn’t a winner.
Rivera alleges that Reggie also told him that they could split the winnings 50/50 if he “found” the ticket, according to the complaint.
The complaint, however, does not explicitly tie Castro to either Reggie or the alleged theft — a fact that attorneys for Castro highlighted in a Thursday motion, according to The Post.
A spokesperson for the California State Lottery Commission told Insider that the institution does not comment on pending litigation but is confident in its vetting process.
“When it comes to the vetting process for big winners, California Lottery has the utmost confidence in its process for doing so,” spokesperson Carolyn Becker said. “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.”
Multiple media outlets reported that Castro was served with the lawsuit at his $25 million mansion, which he purchased in March after collecting his winnings. A summons was indeed served at the Hollywood Hills home on April 25, according to NBC News, but Castro said in a Thursday motion that the summons was incorrectly given to his father, Edwin H. Castro.
Rivera said he reported the alleged theft to the California Lottery and law enforcement soon after the numbers were drawn. After Castro was announced as the winner, Rivera presented a claim form to the California Lottery and a declaration that his ticket had been stolen, according to the complaint.
He then lawyered up and sent a letter to California lottery officials making them aware of the alleged theft, Rivera said. The letter requested the chance to view the surveillance footage from the service center where the ticket was bought.
According to Rivera’s February complaint, he never received a response from the lotto.
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