$2.04B Powerball Lawsuit Plaintiff May Face Police Charges
Jose Rivera, a California man who sued the recent winner of a $2 billion California lottery jackpot, claiming he was the rightful owner, may soon face charges of filing a false police report over the incident.
Edwin Castro, the winner of February 2023’s $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot, found himself in a legal battle when Rivera claimed that Castro had stolen the winning ticket from him.
Rivera reported to the Pasadena Police Department that Castro ‘stole’ the winning ticket from him. However, in his version of events, he was unable to explain how Rivera ended up with the ticket.
Eight months later, and Pasadena Police now believe that Rivera lied about Castro stealing the ticket for the record U.S lottery win.
“The local police department had turned over the documentation to the City Prosecutor for potential misdemeanor charges for filing a false police report,” said City of Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian, speaking to the US Sun newspaper.
If convicted, Rivera could face up to six months in jail, be fined up to $1,000, and given a probationary sentence. Meanwhile Castro has been quietly building up a multimillion Los Angeles real estate portfolio with his huge California lottery win.
The Accusations and the Connection
Rivera claimed that his former landlord, “Reggie,” also known as Urachi F. Romero, stole the ticket and gave it to Castro.
Romero backed up Rivera’s story of having bought the ticket, but denies stealing it and doesn’t know what happened to it after seeing Rivera with it on the day of purchase.
He also claimed that he later received threats from Rivera, while insisting to police and lottery officials he had never known Castro.
Castro’s lawyer, David De Paoli, has said that his client did not steal the ticket, does not have a connection to Romero, and is the rightful owner of the jackpot prize. Earlier this year, he called the lawsuit “baseless” in a media statement.
“We don’t really care what’s going on between those guys [Rivera and Romero], because it doesn’t really involve us except to the extent that we’re sitting here in court,” Paoli said.
“At some point, it is going to become clear that Edwin G. Castro is the legitimate owner of the ticket.”
The CCTV footage from the store still has yet to be released. But in June 2023, Pasadena Police said they were reopening the case. If the most recent reports are correct, that case has now been closed – and Rivera may be in for police charges over the false report.
A case management hearing has been scheduled for February 27, 2024, after it was originally set to happen this month.
Related: Millionaire’s Dream slot, reviewed and rated
The Lavish Lifestyle of the Winner
After winning the $2.04 billion prize, Castro was able to claim his $997.6 million prize after taxes. He then purchased a lavish pad a month later, just after being sued by Rivera.
His 13,578-square-foot California home comes equipped with a full outdoor kitchen, gym, wine cellar, and infinity pool. The three-story property holds five bedrooms and five bathrooms, a movie theatre, sauna, and two separate garages that can hold up to seven cars.
Castro himself has remained quiet on both his winnings and the lawsuit. The last and only time he has spoken to the press was back in February, outside the gas station where he purchased the ticket, just days after winning.
In other recent gambling jackpot news, the famous Nevada casino venues of the Las Vegas Strip have had one of their biggest years for jackpots in recent times. Several jackpot slots players have hit big over the past month, including one lucky gambler’s $12.1 million win on a Megabucks slot at the Excalibur.