The winner of the record-setting $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot sold in California has finally been identified, three months after the historic windfall.
Edwin Castro was revealed by California lottery officials as the lucky player who won the largest lottery prize in US history in the Nov. 7, 2021 drawing.
Castro, who alone matched all six numbers plus the powerball, purchased the ticket at Joe’s Service Center, a gas station in Los Angeles County.
No additional information was released about Castro, who was not present at Tuesday’s press conference and has declined to participate in media interviews.
The winner’s name is public record in California. Only 11 US states, including New Jersey, allow winners to remain anonymous.
Officials did read a statement provided by Castro:
“As much as I am shocked and ecstatic to have won the Powerball drawing, the real winner is the California public school system. The mission of the California Lottery, which is to provide supplemental funding for California public education – both public schools and colleges – makes this a huge win for the state.
“As someone who received the rewards of being educated in the California public education system, it’s gratifying to hear that, as a result of my win, the California school system greatly benefits as well.”
Castro, who had up to a year from the draw date to claim his prize, opted to take the lump cash payment, totaling a jaw-dropping $997.6 million. He also had the option to accept payment in an annuity, which would get doled out in 30 graduated payments over 29 years.
Joseph Chahayed, the owner of Joe’s Service Center, also received a $1 million check for selling the winning ticket.
Chahayed’s son told NBC Los Angeles that they’re selling now more lottery tickets at the store than ever.
“We’ve seen a lot more of what we call lucky buyers that come from all over the state,” Joe Chahayed Jr. told the news outlet.
Nationally, three tickets matched five numbers in that drawing but did not his the Powerball. Those tickets were each worth roughly $1.15 million.
There had been 40 consecutive Powerball drawings without a winner since Aug. 3, causing the jackpot to swell to over 2 billion.
The odds of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is just 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which conducts the game.
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