5th of November 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Thanks to California state lottery officials who went out of their way to find the winner of a $23 million lottery jackpot, a 69-year-old pensioner Julie Cervera was able to claim her winnings which would have otherwise expired on November 26.
The lucky winner was found when the lottery officials tracked down CCTV footage from the convenience store that sold the ticket, and published pictures of the ticket buyer in Californian media, where she was recognized by one of the winner's daughters.
Namely, the footage showed another one of Julie's daughters, Charliena, whom Julie had asked to buy the one dollar Super Lotto Plus ticket for her in a convenience store, which she then threw into the glove compartment of her car and forgot about it.
The money will surely come handy to Cervera, a widow who has been on disability benefit for 20 years and who has adopted two boys with special needs aged 5 and 9.
After claiming her prize, which she decided to take in a single, lesser lump-sum payment, which lottery officials said will amount to nearly $18 million before taxes, Cervera said: "I have maybe a dollar in my pocket, they just shut off my cable, my electric bill is $600 and my bank account is overdrawn.
"My grandkids are all going to be taken care of, and my three daughters," she said. "I'm just so happy."
She also added that a significant amount would be put aside for the two adopted boys "....so that when I'm gone they'll be OK."
According to state lottery officials, this is just the second time they have been forced to release a store surveillance photo to track down a winner. They also noted that over $20.5 million in cash prizes went unclaimed only last year.
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