California Lottery Makes First Billionaire

A man won a $2 billion Powerball jackpot. | Image by California Lottery

A California man has been identified as the winner of the $2 billion Powerball jackpot — though reporting suggests the new billionaire wanted to keep it under wraps. 

Edwin Castro bought the ticket that won him the record-setting prize of $2.04 billion on November 7, 2022, according to lottery officials. 

This is the first time the California Lottery has made someone a billionaire, but it took a while for Castro to claim his prize.

During a news conference after the ticket was bought, California Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Becker said, “Somebody is holding onto a very important piece of paper this morning worth $2.04 billion,” reported KTLA 5. 

Although California Lottery Director Alva Johnson said Castro “would like to largely remain private,” California’s disclosure laws require lottery winners’ names and cities to be classified as public records. These individuals do not have the option to remain anonymous, as winners do in states like Texas.

Winners have the option of receiving the total prize as 30 payments over a span of 29 years or a single lump-sum payment, according to Becker. Most winners opt for the lump sum.

Castro chose to receive the prize as a lump sum, with federal taxes reducing his payout by more than a third. California does not impose a state tax on Powerball winnings. 

Castro opted out of attending the big announcement but said in a statement that he is excited that his win generated a record-breaking $156 million for California public schools.

In a statement, Castro said, “I am shocked and ecstatic to have won the Powerball drawing,” according to The Guardian. “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 school system greatly benefits as well.”

The day after Castro bought the winning ticket, the owner of Joe’s Service Center, 74-year-old Joseph Chahayed, was awarded $1 million for selling the billion-dollar ticket. He said he will split his prize money with his children and grandchildren.

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