A bizarre scene played out at the Los Angeles store where a winning $US1.08 ($A1.48) billion lottery ticket was purchased, as an emotional woman faked the win in front of reporters.
She cried and ran down the street after hugging others in the store and exclaiming her disbelief, but the real winner is yet to come forward.
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“She came in here and she screamed … She hugged people in the store and then she ran away,” KTLA 5 News reporter Eric Spillman said.
“She claims that she has the winning Powerball jackpot ticket.”
But despite the hysterical outburst, the woman was not the winner.
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Sarai Palacios, the granddaughter of Nabor Herrera who co-owns La Palmitas Mini Market where the winning ticket was purchased, suggested the woman might have wanted a chance to be on television, KTLA 5 News reports.
The sixth-largest lottery prize in US history was confirmed last week, but the identity of the real winner remains unclear.
Carolyn Becker of the California Lottery said winners must come forward to a state lottery office with the ticket, which must be verified.
“They have to claim their prize, then we have to spend time vetting the winner to make sure it is the right person,’‘ she said.
“Integrity and transparency are incredibly important to us, so we will probably not know for months and months. They have up to a year to come forward.’‘
A woman’s hysterical celebration over a $US1.08 billion lottery win has been debunked by the store, which said the real winner has not yet come forward. Credit: KTLA 5 News
The lucky ticket holder will have the choice between an annuitised prize paid out in 30 instalments (thus a larger amount over several decades), or a lump-sum payment of $US558.1 million, both before taxes, according to Powerball.
Herrera said his customer base were workers in the downtown area.
“My customers are regulars,” he said. “They are consistent because they are from this area.”
Herrera, who is originally from Chiapas, México, will also get up to $US1 million for selling the winning ticket.
He plans to reinvest that money into his store, spend it with his family, and take a holiday.
“It’s a big surprise for us,” he said. “We are trying to still believe this, because it is great news and not everyone can handle it. Imagine the person who earned it.”
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