ALTADENA, Calif. -- A man is claiming the record-setting $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot ticket was stolen from him and is now attempting to sue the person who claimed the prize.
On Valentine's Day, the California Lottery announced Edwin Castro won what is the largest-ever lottery jackpot, and he opted for the lump sum payout of $997.6 million. Castro was not present for the lottery's announcement that day.
The winning ticket was purchased at Joe's Service Center in Altadena, Los Angeles County.
However, a man named Jose Rivera claimed he bought the winning ticket from the service station on Nov. 7, the day before the actual drawing.
According to paperwork obtained by our sister station KABC-TV, Rivera alleged that another man, identified only as "Reggie," stole the ticket.
Rivera said after the winning numbers were drawn, he kept asking to get the ticket back but Reggie allegedly refused. He claimed Reggie threatened to destroy the ticket if he did not split the winnings.
The document said Rivera reported all of this information to law enforcement and the California Lottery.
The California Lottery has claimed it sometimes reviews surveillance video to make sure it has the correct winner.
KABC attempted to speak with someone at Joe's Service Center Thursday but no one would comment or confirm if the lottery had checked its video from November 2022.
The California Lottery issued the following statement:
"The California Lottery is not authorized to investigate criminal activity among its players; such allegations are subject to investigation only by local law enforcement. Should a local law enforcement agency investigate such allegations, Lottery's only role is to assist in the matter by answering questions and/or providing evidence as allowed under the law.
Further, when it comes to the vetting process for big winners, California Lottery has the utmost confidence in its process for doing so. 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."
The proposed lawsuit names the California Lottery, Castro and Reggie as defendants.
Three other tickets sold in California matched five numbers in that drawing but missed the Powerball number. Those tickets -- sold in Gardena, Beaumont and San Francisco -- were each worth roughly $1.15 million. A total of 22 such tickets were sold nationally.
The Powerball game is played in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.