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Man Who Alleges He Won Record $2 Billion Powerball Jackpot Cites Death Threats

Published on Friday, September 15, 2023 | 5:39 pm
The State Lottery Commision has repeatedly stick to its conclusion that the winner of the record-setting $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot last November was Edwin Castro, who purchased the winning ticket at an Altadena service station and opted for a lump-sum payment of $997.6 million.

A man who maintains he is the winner of the record-breaking November $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot — not the Altadena man the state has declared was the victor — says in an amended complaint that he has received death threats for making his claim to the prize.

State officials have denied Jose Rivera’s claim in his Alhambra Superior Court lawsuit against the California State Lottery Commission that he is the lottery winner. The commission maintains that Altadenan Edwin G. Castro, also a defendant in the Rivera suit, is the proper winner as announced on Feb. 14.

But in his updated complaint filed Monday, Rivera still insists he is the lawful winner and that he has paid a price for taking his stand.

“The plaintiff has received anonymous death threats for claiming that he is the rightful winner of the ticket and he been forced to leave his work as a gardener because of the risk to the security of his family and himself,” the amended suit states.

Upon learning on Feb. 14 that Castro claimed to hold the winning ticket, Rivera presented a claim form the next day to the lottery’s Chatsworth office, but was told the matter was “closed,” the updated suit states.

Rivera maintains he bought the victorious ticket at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena the day before the Nov. 8 drawing, but that it was stolen by someone identified only as “Reggie,” a co-defendant in the suit, on the same day. In subsequent court papers, Rivera’s lawyers identified “Reggie” as Urachi F. Romero.

However, deputies at the Altadena sheriff’s station told Rivera that Pasadena police had jurisdiction over the case, the amended complaint states.

Rivera went to the PPD in February with his attorney and officers told the lawyer that they had relied on the Lottery Commission investigation findings that Castro won the prize, the revised suit states.

Not dissuaded, Rivera then went back to the Pasadena Police Dept. in April and was told the case was “pending,” the updated suit states.

Rivera asked Romero numerous times to return the ticket, but he refused, telling the plaintiff among other things that the two could split the winnings if he found the ticket, according to the suit.

Romero later showed his neighbors “rolls of money,” which he told them were “compliments of Castro,” the updated suit states.

But in his court papers, Edwin G. Castro’s attorney says there are no concrete details in Rivera’s lawsuit explaining how the declared winner allegedly obtained the winning Powerball ticket from Romero or anyone named “Reggie.”

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