Jose Rivera bites back at Edwin Castro’s ex-lawyer saying ‘don’t count me out so quickly’ as lottery fight continues

EDWIN Castro’s lotto rival has lashed out at the $2 billion jackpot winner’s former lawyer for mocking his attempts to claim the prize.

Landscape gardener Jose Rivera, 48, is suing Castro, 32, for cashing in on what he alleges was a winning ticket that Rivera’s landlord stole from him and gave to Castro.

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Mechanic Edwin Castro won a $2.4 billion Powerball jackpot in November 2022Credit: Lalo/PPC Commissioned by The US Sun Digital edition
Landscape gardener Jose Rivera claims his landlord stole the winning ticket from him and gave it to Castro

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Landscape gardener Jose Rivera claims his landlord stole the winning ticket from him and gave it to CastroCredit: Connellan
Castro’s former lawyer David De Paoli previously told The U.S. Sun that Rivera's lawsuit against him would 'go the way of the dinosaur'

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Castro’s former lawyer David De Paoli previously told The U.S. Sun that Rivera’s lawsuit against him would ‘go the way of the dinosaur’Credit: Ruaridh Connellan for The US Sun

Rivera is also facing a criminal charge of filing a false police complaint for reporting that the winning ticket was taken from him. 

Castro’s previous lawyer, David De Paoli, predicted in July last year that Rivera’s civil suit would “go the way of the dinosaur” and disappear.  

But after learning that De Paoli is no longer representing Castro, Rivera exclusively told The U.S. Sun in a written statement, “Looks like the joke’s on you now, Mr. Lawyer.

“My case is soaring high like those dinosaurs you seem to think are extinct. 

“Maybe next time don’t count me out so quickly.”

Rivera claims he purchased the ticket at a gas station in Altadena, just north of Pasadena, in November 2022. 

He accuses his former landlord, Urachi “Reggie” Romero, of stealing it and passing it on to Castro, a former mechanic. 

Romero previously admitted in an interview with the New York Post that he does believe his former tenant had the winning ticket. 

The landlord said that Rivera showed him the ticket before the draw and gave a detailed explanation of why he picked each number.

But he also protested his innocence, saying he didn’t know what happened to it and insisting that he has not benefitted.

In a further twist to the tale, Romero was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm in July.

He was all hit with a second charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance while armed. 

Court records show that Romero was convicted on both charges the following month after pleading no contest.

‘THE LEGITIMATE OWNER’

At around the time of Romero’s arrest, Castro’s then-lawyer De Paoli told The U.S. Sun after a court hearing in Rivera’s civil case, “I think you can see this thing is going to go the way of the dinosaur.

“My client doesn’t know what the connection between Rivera and Romero is, but as far as my client is concerned, he doesn’t know any of them.

“At some point, it is going to become clear that Edwin G. Castro is the legitimate owner of the ticket.”

Castro only recently changed his representation from De Paoli to LA-based attorney Michael Freedman of The Freedman Firm.

My case is soaring high like those dinosaurs you seem to think are extinct. 

Jose Rivera

California Lottery has stood by Castro as the winner since the beginning, and there is allegedly CCTV evidence seen by Castro’s counsel showing the moment he bought the ticket.

But after appearing in court to face his criminal charge earlier this month, Rivera said he has a picture of pizza that will prove that he was the legitimate owner of the winning ticket. 

He claimed the case now hinges on finding a photo expert who can enhance the pic, which he says shows the winning ticket on the day of the draw. 

Rivera also claimed that Romero had flashed $100 bills at him at a gas station, adding, “He showed a neighbor and he said ‘This is a gift from Edwin Castro.’

“I just want to get justice because I am tired now of this case.”

The U.S. Sun has reached out to De Paoli asking for comment.

Edwin Castro’s Powerball win timeline

When and why Castro got sued

On November 7, 2022, Castro bought a winning Powerball ticket at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California.

The grand prize was $2.04 billion at the time – the largest in US history.

On February 14, 2023, the California Lottery announced Castro’s win, and he took home a one-time lump sum payment of $997.6 million.

Castro’s identity was released, but little information was known about the former mechanic.

In May 2023, Jose Rivera, a gardener from California, filed a lawsuit claiming that he was the rightful owner of the golden ticket.

Rivera claimed his former landlord Urachi F. Romero stole the ticket before it ended up in Castro’s hands.

Since filing the suit, Rivera has been charged with filing a false police report and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation by a judge.

However, Rivera pleaded not guilty to the charge, passed the evaluation, and continues to defend his story.

Rivera claims that his landlord stole his winning ticket and gave it to Castro

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Rivera claims that his landlord stole his winning ticket and gave it to CastroCredit: The US Sun – Commissioned by The US Sun Digital edition
Castro has never commented on Rivera's claims about the $2 billion lottery ticket

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Castro has never commented on Rivera’s claims about the $2 billion lottery ticketCredit: The US Sun

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