Posted on: December 4, 2023, 04:36h.
Last updated on: December 4, 2023, 04:36h.
A California man who claims to be the rightful owner of the world’s biggest lottery jackpot has vowed to continue his fight for the $2 billion prize he claims was stolen from him.
Jose Rivera was speaking publicly for the first time since he sued winner Edwin Castro and his former landlord Urachi F. Romero. He claims Romero stole the ticket from him and then blackmailed him to split the winnings before the ticket somehow ended up with Castro, who claimed the prize in February 2023.
Standing on the steps of the Pasadena courtroom where he is facing charges of filing a false police report in relation to the incident, Rivera told The US Sun it was “war” and he would not back down.
‘I Want Justice’
“It’s ridiculous that they are trying to put charges on me for my own ticket,” he said. “I don’t have words for it. But I showed them that I am the rightful winner. I was the one who bought the ticket. I’m going to show everyone that I’m the rightful winner.
If God wants me in jail for my own ticket … Oh well, that’s what he wants,” he continued. “But I’m going to fight until the end. I want justice and I’m going to show the world. I’m fighting for justice.”
Rivera added that he was not “hungry on money” and was proud to be a hard-working man.”
Shortly after Rivera sued, the California Lottery said it was confident Castro was the real winner. But it added that it was “not authorized to investigate any criminal activity among its players.”
In May, Romero told The New York Post he believed Rivera did have the winning ticket, although he denied stealing it and said he did not know how Castro got hold of it.
A month later, Pasadena police confirmed that they had relaunched a formal investigation into Rivera’s claim after initially closing the case. But last month they charged Rivera with filing a false police report. That comes with a sentence of up to six months in prison.
In mid-November, Castro’s attorney, David De Paoli, claimed to have viewed video footage of his client buying the winning ticket, which he said should put the matter to bed once and for all.
But Rivera isn’t buying it.
“It’s gonna blow up,” he said. “I don’t want money, I want the truth. I’m tired. People think I’m stupid. I’m not stupid, I’m actually very, very smart.”