A California Powerball winner who struck gold with a staggering $2 billion jackpot last year, has found himself embroiled in a legal battle over the rightful ownership of the winning ticket. Edwin Castro was served legal papers at his luxurious $25.5 million Hollywood Hills estate, alleging that the ticket was stolen from the original purchaser, Jose Rivera.
$2 Billion Powerball winner Edwin Castro served papers at $25 Million California mansion in lawsuit claiming the ticket was stolen 👀😳
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) May 26, 2023
The lawsuit, which was initiated in February, comes after Castro received the lump-sum cash payment of $997.6 million and purchased two multimillion-dollar properties, one of which is an opulent 13,500-square-foot mansion replete with lavish amenities such as a wine cellar, game room, movie theater, bar, spa, infinity pool, and a fitness studio. He also splurged on a vintage, white Porsche worth $250,000.
The suit is based on the assertion that Castro is not the rightful winner of the monumental jackpot. Plaintiff Jose Rivera contends that he purchased the coveted ticket at an Altadena gas station a day prior to the Nov. 8 drawing, only for it to be stolen from him by a man identified as Urachi F. Romero, also known as “Reggie,” not long after.
While the complaint does not elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the alleged theft or how the ticket made its way from Romero to Castro, Rivera argued that he asked Romero to return the ticket to him when the California Lottery revealed the winning numbers, but he was told that “the ticket was a loser.”
Rivera insists that he refused to be blackmailed by Romero’s offer to split the winnings if the ticket was found. Instead, he reported the alleged theft to both the commission and law enforcement agencies.
Romero is now listed as a co-defendant in the Alhambra Superior Court case.
In a bid to expedite a resolution and establish the true proprietor of the $2.04 billion Powerball ticket, Rivera’s legal team has implored the California Lottery to make available all video recordings related to the ticket purchase.
The team believes that the footage, which the lottery allegedly obtained shortly after confirming the winning ticket was sold at Joe’s Service Center, will incontrovertibly prove his claim.
“In an effort to hopefully reach a prompt resolution of this matter involving the rightful owner of the $2.04 Billion Powerball winning ticket, our client, Jose Rivera, again requests the ‘Lottery’ make available for our review all video depicting the purchase of the winning ticket,” read a letter submitted to the California Lottery by Rivera’s legal team.
Despite Rivera’s claims, the California Lottery has steadfastly stood by Castro, maintaining “utmost confidence” in their vetting process for big winners.
“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,” a spokesperson for the California Lottery stated.