The winner of a record $2bn (£1.6bn) US Powerball lottery draw is being sued by a man claiming the lucky ticket was stolen from him.
Edwin Castro, who lives in California, chose to take last November’s jackpot in one lump sum of $997.6m.
But now Jose Rivera, a fellow Californian, says in a civil complaint that the prize money should be his.
Mr Castro has not commented. The California Lottery earlier said it was confident he was the rightful winner.
In a statement from February, the California Lottery said it always checked prize money claimants and “has the utmost confidence in its process for doing so”.
Mr Rivera’s lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court in the city of Alhambra.
He alleges that he bought the winning ticket on 7 November 2022 – and that it was stolen later that day by a man who was not Mr Castro.
The complaint does not provide details about how the ticket might have ended up with Mr Castro.
Powerball tickets cost $2 and a winner has two options to claim their winnings. They can choose to receive the full amount in an annuity paid over 29 years – but almost all winners opt for a smaller, upfront cash payment instead.
The game, which began in 1992, is played in 45 of the 50 US states, the capital city of Washington, DC, and in the US territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The winnings are subject to federal taxes of between 24% and 37%, and, in most cases, state taxes. Only 10 states – including California – do not have state taxes on lottery winnings. In several locations, such as New York City, the winnings are also subject to municipal taxes.