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$52 million lotto mystery solved

August 31, 2012 7:01:46 PM PDT
A Bay Area couple became sudden millionaires Friday. They actually have been worth millions for more than a month but didn't know it until Thursday night.

The Fremont couple, Marita and Bladimir Agnite, didn't even know that they had hit the jackpot until a relative called them to say they saw them on TV.

The picture on TV was one lottery officials had released to local media. It was taken from a surveillance video after officials became aware that someone had checked the winning ticket several times at local grocery stores but hadn't come forward.

Bladimir says that he kept scanning the ticket and no dollar amount would show up. He was simply directed to see the clerk.

He said relatives encouraged him to go to the lottery website so that he could see the picture of himself. When he saw the photo of himself on screen, that's when he knew he had a winning ticket, Bladimir says.

He proceeded to wake up his wife and told her, "We're wanted -- in the lotto!" he said.

The couple says the winnings will change their lives. Bladimir was laid off from his job. Marita works as a nursing assistant and the couple and their children have been living with friends.

The couple says that they are determined to stay humble after becoming millionaires. Marita plans to continue working.

The California Lottery cited integrity and transparency when explaining why it tried to locate the holder of the winning ticket. Officials said it's their responsibility to connect ticket purchasers with their winnings.


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