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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

State Lottery Commission Urges Dismissal of Powerball Suit Against Altadena Man


A lawsuit filed by a man who sued the California State Lottery Commission alleging he was wrongfully denied November’s record $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot should be dismissed, in part because the plaintiff cannot produce a winning ticket, the state Attorney General’s Office states in new court papers.

Jose Rivera maintains in his Alhambra Superior Court lawsuit that he is the lottery winner and not Edwin G. Castro, also a defendant in the suit, who the commission announced as the winner on Feb. 14.

“Here, plaintiff’s lottery ticket was allegedly stolen, so he had no winning ticket to present to the state lottery to claim the prize,” the Attorney General’s Office states in court papers filed Monday with Judge William Crowfoot. “The authority is clear that the state lottery cannot pay winnings to anyone who does not present a valid, winning ticket.”

Judge Crowfoot is a former Pasadena Councilmember from 1993 to 2001. In 2020, Crowfoot swore in Victor Gordo as Pasadena’s mayor.

Rivera also did not file a claim for damages with the state before suing the state and the commission and also did not provide the proper statutory authority for his claims, according to the Attorney General’s Office’s court papers.

In his suit brought Feb. 22, Rivera maintains he bought the victorious ticket at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena the day before the Nov. 8 drawing, but that it was stolen by someone identified only as “Reggie,” a co- defendant in the suit, on the same day.

In subsequent court papers, Rivera’s lawyers identified “Reggie” as Urachi F. Romero, who could not be reached for comment.

Rivera asked Romero numerous times to return the ticket, but he refused, telling the plaintiff among other things that the two could split the winnings if he found the ticket, according to the suit, which further states that Rivera refused to be blackmailed and reported the alleged theft to the commission and to law enforcement.

But in his court papers, Castro’s attorney says there are no details in the lawsuit as to how his client allegedly obtained the winning Powerball ticket from anyone named Reggie. Castro also maintains the lawsuit was wrongly served on his father, Edwin H. Castro.

A hearing on Edwin G. Castro’s motion to quash the service of the summons and complaint is scheduled July 19 before Crowfoot, who will hear the commission’s dismissal motion on Sept. 29.

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