A Powerball winner has been served with legal papers at his new $25million California mansion after a lawsuit was filed claiming his winning lotto ticket was stolen.
In the suit first filed in February in Alhambra Superior Court, plaintiff Jose Rivera alleges he was the one who bought the $997.6 million winning ticket – not Edwin Castro who has since been living a life of luxury.
Mr Rivera claims he purchased the ticket himself at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena on November 8 – the day before the draw.
He alleges it was then stolen later that day by a man known as “Reggie”, who has since been identified as Urachi F. Romero and is now listed as a co-defendant in court documents, according to the US Sun.
The plaintiff claims he demanded the ticket be returned, something Romero refused, telling him he had lost it, but would split the winnings if it turned up.
Carolyn Becker, a spokesperson for the California Lottery, previously stated: “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.”
Despite that claim, however, the lawsuit appears to be proceeding as Mr Rivera bids to sue the California State Lottery Commission, Castro, and Romero.
A proof of service was filed last week showing court papers were allegedly delivered to Castro at his new home in the Hollywood Hills, with a copy of the summons, complaint, and other documents related to the case handed over.
The process server noted in the documents: “The subject said we are serving the wrong Edwin Castro. I advised the subject to contact the attorney if any questions or concerns.”
A proof of service hearing has now been scheduled for July 24 at the courthouse in Alhambra, with attorneys Estela Richeda and Brian Kramer representing Mr Rivera.
Castro, who refused to comment on the lawsuit and the win – the biggest in US history – has yet to be assigned an attorney of his own, nor have the California Lottery Commission or Romero.
Residing near singer Ariana Grande and TV host Jimmy Kimmel, Castro reportedly took until mid-February to claim the prize.
The California Lottery previously told Inside Edition Digital in a statement that it is not authorised to investigate criminal activity.
“Such allegations are subject to investigation only by local law enforcement,” it said.