THE landlord who claimed Edwin Castro was not the true owner of the $2.4 billion Powerball lottery jackpot ticket has been arrested and faces jail time.
There has been controversy since the 31-year-old Castro bought the winning ticket for the November 2022 drawing at the California State Lottery headquarters in Sacramento in January.
A tense legal battle is underway between Castro and fellow Golden State native Jose Rivera, who maintains he is the ticket winner despite lottery officials’ decision.
Last month, Rivera was supported by outside parties in his claim to the largest Powerball prize pot in United States history.
His former landlord, Urachi “Reggie” Romero, 47, vocally supported Rivera’s position, claiming the tenant showed him the ticket before the drawing and explained in detail why he chose each number New York Post.
Nevertheless, Rivera sued both Castro and Romero, claiming that the landlord stole the note, which Castro later cashed.
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“I saw Jose Rivera with this ticket…he showed it to me,” Romero told the New York PostIt turned out that it was the evening of November 7th and that Rivera had purchased the ticket at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena.
“I asked him why he picked two tens. He said it was the date his parents died. He chose 47 because he is that old. He also said that his father always wanted a 1956 Chevy truck, so he chose the 56. He had a reason why he chose each number and he told me that before (the drawing).”
Romero continued that he has received threats since Castro hit the jackpot, but insisted that Rivera was the real winner and had somehow “lost” the ticket.
“I could be dirty or shy, but the reality is that Jose Rivera showed me this ticket before he knew it was the winning ticket,” the landlord noted.
“But I don’t know how he lost the ticket.”
Even with Romero’s claims, the situation has become more complicated since the 27-year-old was arrested by police and charged in July with being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to Los Angeles County court records obtained by The US Sun.
He was also charged with a second count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with a weapon.
Romero pleaded not guilty to both charges.
The landlord was convicted in both cases and sentenced on Aug. 15 to 56 days in a Los Angeles County jail and formal probation for two years, according to court documents.
Before his arrest, Romero insisted in an interview with the New York Post that he did not want to be involved in Rivera’s legal battle against Castro.
“I hope my name is removed because it’s strange that I’m in the middle of all this money but I still have nothing. How can I steal this billion-dollar ticket and not have a dollar?” The landlord questioned.
Romero explained that after the winning numbers were announced, he even allowed Rivera to search his room to find the ticket and showed the publication a video of his search.
“I let him look through my stuff because I had nothing to hide,” Romero said.
Rivera continued to insist in the lawsuit that the landlord allegedly stole the ticket and refused to give it back to him.
Romero suspected that the ticket may have been stolen by a Castro family friend who had worked with Rivera on several of his landscaping jobs.
“But (Rivera) is also a gardener who works in many places,” the landlord noted.
“It might have just fallen out of his pocket, but I don’t know how it got to Castro.”
California State Lottery officials also said they were confident Castro was the rightful owner of the $2.4 billion Powerball ticket.
For Romero, it is a “blessing” that Rivera lost and Castro received.
“I’ve never touched that ticket, but I also think about how the hell anyone could possibly lose it,” he told the New York Post.
“He got a blessing and he lost it.”
Rivera filed the lawsuit against both Romero and Castro in February, shortly after Castro received the lump sum payment of about $997 million.
The 31-year-old has since purchased at least three homes, including a Bel-Air mansion worth over $40 million.
The US Sun has reached out to Castro’s legal team for further comment on Romero’s conviction.