A woman claiming to be the winner of the $1.08bn Powerball jackpot has been spotted at a California convenience store where tickets were sold.
An unidentified woman was captured on video eagerly hugging people at the Las Palmidas Mini Market in downtown Los Angeles. Reporters at the store tried to interview the woman who could hold the third largest jackpot in Powerball history, but she was too ecstatic to speak.
“I can’t… I can’t,” she fought back tears of joy. “I’m scared now, I’m really scared.”
She nodded when asked if you were the winner, but as she hurried out of the store, the woman dropped to her knees and continued to cry as she waved her hands in the air. She then left in a BMW Version inside.
Nabor Herrera, owner of Las Palmidas Mini Market, told the store he thought “it was fake” because he didn’t recognize the woman. However, Mr Herrera’s daughters said they believed the woman was the daughter of the customer who bought the ticket.
He said it will take more time to officially identify the California Lottery winner.
“Anyone who says a winner is not valid until we say so,” spokeswoman Carolyn Becker said at a press conference outside the Las Palmidas Mini Marker Thursday morning.
The winner received an estimated $1.08bn, the sixth largest in US history, while shop owners won a $1m bonus for selling the lucky ticket. The winning numbers for Wednesday night’s drawing are white balls 7, 10, 11, 13, 24 and red Powerball 24.
Mr Herrera said KTV He didn’t realize he had sold the winning ticket until he arrived at work early Thursday morning and saw more media outside the store.
“I’ll tell you, it’s a surprise to me, I don’t know what it’s filming or what,” said the father of four.
Mr Herrera, who has owned the shop for seven years, said he plans to use his $1 million sales bonus to expand his business and take his family on vacation to Cabo San Lucas or Cancun in Mexico.
The grand prize helped raise money for a California public school system – for every ticket sold, 80 cents goes to the public school fund.
“Thanks to this jackpot, which grew to 39 different draws, the California Lottery raised nearly $80 million for public schools in the last three months,” said Ms. Becker.
The California Lottery announced Wednesday that only one ticket nationwide matched the six numbers in the drawing. The organization said seven more tickets matched 5 numbers – meaning these ticket holders would each win a prize of $448,750.
In Hayward, La Puente, Los Angeles, Northridge, San Francisco, Santa Clara and South Lake Tahoe, California won $448,750 each after selling seven additional tickets that matched 5 non-Powerball numbers.
The Las Palmidas Mini Marker is just around the corner from LA’s notorious Skid Row neighborhood and a 30-minute drive from the convenience store in Altadena where Powerball winner Edwin Castro bought a ticket for the $2.04bn jackpot last November.
The winner of the Jackpot may choose the jackpot total in annual increments or as a one-time lump sum.