A California man who claimed the record-breaking $2 billion Powerball lottery jackpot last year may be headed to court to defend his winnings.
Edwin Castro was served legal papers at his home in Hollywood Hills this week, notifying him of a pending lawsuit, the U.S. Sun reported. The suit, filed in Los Angeles County in February, accuses Castro of stealing the winning ticket from a fellow California resident named Jose Rivera. In his claim, Rivera lists the California Lottery Commission and California resident Urachi “Reggie” Romero as defendants.
Rivera’s lawyers — Brian Kramer and Estela Richeda — didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. Castro’s attorney David De Paoli also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment confirming that his client had been served.
According to the lawsuit, Rivera purchased the Powerball ticket at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California, on November 7, 2022. Around that same day, Rivera claims, the ticket was stolen from him by Romero. Rivera demanded the ticket be returned to him numerous times, but Romero refused, the suit states.
The lawsuit doesn’t share details on how Castro obtained the winning ticket.
Castro’s Powerball win made national headlines last year as the jackpot swelled to billions of dollars. The jackpot was by far the largest lottery prize ever won, topping the previous Powerball record of $1.59 billion which was split between three winners in 2016.
Lottery officials said Castro selected the lump-sum payout and received a staggering $997.6 million. He opted not to reveal himself in a press conference.
A few months after the win, Castro bought a $25 million bachelor pad, CBS affiliate KCAL reported. The three-story mansion has five bedrooms, five baths, two powder rooms and features a gym, cold plunge pool, wine cellar, movie theater and sauna.
Castro also bought a smaller $4 million property this year in Altadena, not too far from the store where the Powerball ticket was purchased, KCAL reported.
The California Lottery has said it is confident that Castro is the rightful winner of the jackpot, releasing a statement in February that it vets everyone who steps forward to claim prize money and “has the utmost confidence in its process for doing so.” The allegations Rivera brought will be investigated by local law enforcement and not the public agency, the California Lottery Commission said.
Despite the lottery commission’s confidence, the lawsuit is moving forward. The case’s next major hearing is scheduled for July 24.