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No takers yet! $447M Powerball prize in California remains unclaimed

MENIFEE, California — Lottery officials on Monday gave a ceremonial million-dollar check to the owners of a Southern California liquor store that sold the winning $447.8 million Powerball jackpot ticket and said whoever bought it has still not come forward to claim the prize.

At the busy store right off the freeway in the small city of Menifee, residents stopped by to congratulate members of the Alberre family, who have owned the business for more than two decades, and muse about whether someone among them might be about to take home the 10th largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

California lottery officials said a sole winning ticket was sold at the Marietta Liquor & Deli, but they won’t reveal when the purchase took place to avoid encouraging false claims.

Russ Lopez, a lottery spokesman, urged whoever has the ticket to seek sound financial and legal advice. The winner has up to a year to claim the prize.

“That’s a lot of money for somebody in this area,” Lopez said as community members snapped photos outside the lucky store. “Winning the lottery should never be a nightmare.”

The Alberre family said they didn’t know what they would do with the $1 million bonus awarded to the retailer that sold the winning ticket.

Albeir Alberre, a 65-year-old immigrant originally from Syria, said the store has sold a few winners since he started the business in the late 1990s but never this big. His son, Matthew Alberre, said he couldn’t believe when he received a call with the news at his cousin’s high school graduation party Saturday night.

“I was in shock at first,” said the 26-year-old Alberre. “It’s an incredible feeling. I’m just very blessed to be a part of this.”

The store caters to local residents in the Sun City area of Menifee, which was originally developed as a retirement community in the 1960s, and is also a common stop for motorists passing through the area about 80 miles (130 kilometers) from Los Angeles.

Sun City has about 4,700 homes developed for residents age 55 and older. Today, the homes clustered around a golf course are part of Menifee, population 89,000.

Richard Byham, a 68-year-old retired mailman, said he plays the lottery daily at the store and rushed to check his numbers after hearing the winning ticket was sold there.

“This is as close as I’ve ever come, and I’m still excited,” Byham said. “It was one heck of a rush to see this address and name pop up.”

The lucky numbers drawn Saturday night were 20-26-32-38-58, and the Powerball number was 3.

Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The estimated jackpot prize is based on a winner choosing an annuity, which pays off over 29 years. The cash prize would be $279.1 million. Both prize amounts would be before taxes are deducted.

Before the drawing Saturday night, the jackpot was estimated at $435 million. It had grown because no one had matched all the numbers since April 1.

The odds of winning Saturday’s drawing were one in 292.2 million.

No takers yet! $447M Powerball prize in California remains unclaimed MENIFEE, California — Lottery officials on Monday gave a ceremonial million-dollar check to the owners of a Southern

Man Sues For Chatsworth’s Unclaimed’ $63 Million Lotto Jackpot

A man claims to have bought the Chatsworth ticket for a $63 million SuperLotto Plus jackpot, the largest unclaimed jackpot in state history.

By California News Wire Services , News Partner
May 8, 2018 4:01 p m PT

LOS ANGELES, CA — Saying a man’s claim that he is entitled to a $63 million SuperLotto Plus jackpot was brought “in bad faith or without reasonable cause,” the California Attorney General’s Office is seeking dismissal of the lawsuit and compensation for defending the state against the case.

Using declarations and exhibits, Deputy Attorney General Neil Houston says in his Los Angeles Superior Court papers that plaintiff Brandy Milliner’s ticket was bought miles away at another 7-Eleven store, not the actual one in Chatsworth where a winning ticket was purchased for the 2015 prize that was never claimed.

“As the undisputed facts of this case clearly show, Mr. Milliner’s claim is highly speculative at best and most likely a fraudulent attempt to secure an unclaimed jackpot,” Houston alleges in his court papers.

The $63 million ticket — the largest California Lottery jackpot ever forfeited — was purchased for the Aug. 8, 2015, drawing at the 7-Eleven store at 20871 Lassen St. in Chatsworth. If the winner had come forward and taken a lump sum payment, he or she would have received $39.9 million before taxes. The winning numbers were 46, 1, 33, 30, 16 plus Mega number 24.

By examining the paper stock on Milliner’s ticket, Lottery officials determined that he bought it at a 7-Eleven store at 4051 Leimert Blvd. in Los Angeles, according to Houston’s court papers.

“Mr. Milliner’s ticket was not even purchased at the same store where the jackpot winning ticket for the Aug. 8, 2015, SuperLotto Plus drawing was sold,” Houston wrote.

Further examination showed that Milliner purchased his ticket on July 10, 2015, Houston’s court papers state. Although Milliner claims he bought the ticket at the Chatsworth 7-Eleven while in the area to pick up a friend from work the afternoon of Aug, 8, 2015, the Lottery records show the real winning ticket was actually bought at that store the morning of the day before, according to Houston’s court papers.

Milliner filed his first lawsuit against the state and the Lottery Commission in February 2016, but allegedly failed to file a claim with the state first. He then filed a second lawsuit two months later after complying with the claims rule, and the two lawsuits were consolidated.

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Milliner maintains he tried to claim the prize, but California Lottery officials rejected the ticket, saying it was damaged.

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Milliner says that when he initially presented the ticket to the Lottery Commission within the claim period, he was given a form congratulating him on his winnings and explaining that he would receive a check in six to eight weeks from the state Controller’s Office. However, in January 2016, Milliner says he received a letter from the commission stating that after a review of his ticket, the agency determined it to be “too damaged to be reconstructed.” The letter cited a section of the California Lottery Act that explained the commission was unable to process Milliner’s claim, his suit states.

Milliner alleges the commission has “interfered” with his prize by withholding the ticket, refusing to return it and refusing to award him the grand prize.

“Subsequent to the draw, the plaintiff has properly and repeatedly demanded payment of the prize,” the suit says. “To date, however, the (commission has) refused to pay the prize.”

Houston’s court papers include a copy of a note signed by Milliner in which he says he bought the ticket on Aug. 8, 2015, and explains its poor condition.

“The ticket was damaged because it was on top of my dresser and some cologne spilt (sic) on it,” Milliner wrote.

But in a sworn declaration, Randall Forrester, the Lottery’s chief of district sales, says the testing showed Milliner’s ticket was not eligible for the Aug. 8, 2015, drawing.

“The SuperLotto Plus ticket that is at issue in this case was purchased on July 10, 2015, and would therefore have been eligible only for the July 11, 2015 drawing — it was, and is, not eligible for the Aug. 8, 2015, SuperLotto Plus drawing,” Forrester says.

The state’s dismissal motion — which is scheduled for hearing July 12 — also asks that a judge find the lawsuit was brought “in bad faith or without reasonable cause,” justifying a reimbursement to the state of its “reasonable costs of defense.”

The previous largest jackpot to ever go unclaimed was $28.5 million for a SuperLotto Plus ticket sold in Alameda County in 2003.

By BILL HETHERMAN, City News Service; Photo: Shutterstock

Man Sues For Chatsworth's Unclaimed' $63 Million Lotto Jackpot – Northridge-Chatsworth, CA – A man claims to have bought the Chatsworth ticket for a $63 million SuperLotto Plus jackpot, the largest unclaimed jackpot in state history. ]]>