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A Woman Falsely Declared Herself the $1.08 Billion Powerball Winner | “She Wanted to Be On TV”

In California, there is a vetting process that refrains people from making false claims about lottery prizes which could attract serious felony charges.
UPDATED JAN 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Inside Edition
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Inside Edition

Just a day after Powerball revealed that a store in California had sold a ticket worth $1.08 billion, a woman came to the store to claim that she had won the jackpot. The woman went viral on social media when a video of her claiming that she was the one who bought the winning ticket was circulated. "I’m scared right now, I’m so scared," the woman said while hugging the shoppers and eventually collapsing in front of the store.

Sarai Palacios, the granddaughter of Nabor Herrera who owns Las Palmitas Mini Market, later informed Business Insider that the woman was making false claims and the winner was yet to be revealed."She didn't win — I'm not sure why she did that. I guess she just wanted to be on TV," said Palacios. 

Pexels | Waldemar
Image Source: Waldemar/Pexels


In California, there is a vetting process that refrains people from making false claims about lottery prizes. This woman is not the first person to have created a false buzz around the lottery. Hence, states already have a system in place to track down where the winning ticket is going and use this information to pinpoint the winner. The winner on the other hand can fill in a claim form that could be submitted to initiate a verification process. If somebody makes a false claim, they could face serious felony charges as pointed out by Carolyn Becker, a representative for the California lottery to Nexstar.


It's important to note that while all states do have a vetting process that is set in place to confirm the winner, each process differs a little from the others. In major states like California, it could take weeks, sometimes seven months, to successfully confirm who the actual winner is. The process involves the winners providing proof of where they bought the ticket and other evidence that they may be asked to give. Identity verification is also conducted along with checking the security footage of the day of the purchase.


Edwin Castro, who won the historic $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot in November 2022 opted to take the lump sum payment of $997.6 million. The man was living his dream life until another man named José Rivera filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that he was not the one who bought the winning ticket. However, the state is sticking to its decision to name Castro the winner. A spokesperson of California Lottery told TMZ that the company has the utmost confidence in its vetting process for big winners.

Image Source: Peaton Hugo/Pexels
Image Source: Peaton Hugo/Pexels

Things are not looking good for the man who has claimed that he is the real winner. He seems to have lost two lawyers in a span of a week. Riviera has also failed to provide any explanation as to why he thinks that he is the real winner and the two lawyers who he had hired to get his hands on the money have abandoned the case, as per US Sun. His attorney R. Brian Kramer left the case on July 12, 2023, and just a week later, his other attorney Estela Richeda also left the court battle.

"There is no basis in fact for the suit at all. At this point, we’re just working on service but there are huge problems with the complaint," said David De Paoli, the lawyer for Castro. "At some point, it is going to become clear that Edwin G. Castro is the legitimate owner of the ticket," said Paoli.