Finally! Owners of Chino Hills Powerball ticket claim share of $1.6 billion
7-Eleven franchise owner Balbir Atwal holds one of the “Millionaire Made Here” lottery signs in his Chino Hills store, where one of the winning Powerball tickets was sold.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Customers take pictures of the counter at the 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, where one of three winning Powerball tickets was sold.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
7-Eleven employee Bally Gosl processes a customer Powerball ticket on the lotto machine that dispensed a winning ticket in Chino Hills.(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Lottery official Terry White, top, and store owner Balbir Atwal hang a “Millionaire Made Here” poster at the 7-Eleven in Chino Hills.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Lottery official Terry White hangs a “Millionaire Made Here” poster at the 7-Eleven in Chino Hills that sold one of three winning Powerball tickets.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
7-Eleven franchise owner Balbir Atwal, who will receive $1 million for selling a winning ticket, holds a Powerball poster as media crowd around at the Chino Hills store.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Residents of Chino Hills crowd into a 7-Eleven where at least one of the winning tickets was sold in the Powerball which had a jackpot in excess of $1.5 billion. Employee M. Faroqui, center, sold the winning ticket.(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Residents of Chino Hills crowd into a 7-Eleven where at least one of the winning tickets was sold in Powerball, which had a jackpot in excess of $1.5 billion.(Michael Robinson Chávez / Los Angeles Times)
Neighbors say that Marvin and Mae Acosta moved into their tidy, new Eastvale home in Riverside County late last year.
Then, about a week ago, moving vans appeared out front. On Friday, the couple walked into the California Lottery’s office in Van Nuys with a Powerball ticket for the record Jan. 12 jackpot worth $1.6 billion. Their share of the pot before taxes was estimated at $528.8 million. The Acostas, who purchased the ticket at a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, opted for the lump sum payment of $327.8 million before federal taxes.
Lottery officials said that by law, the lucky couple would have to be publicly identified after they came forward. The Acostas had the weekend to brace for the onslaught of attention.
On Tuesday, the blinds on the home on Glover Court were closed and no one appeared to be in. Maria Franco, who lives across the road, said she was very happy to hear about the family’s win, though she didn’t know them very well. Like others in the neighborhood, she bought her own Powerball tickets when the jackpot soared in January and had wondered if the winners would ever come forward.
The Acostas requested privacy, lottery officials said. In lieu of interviews, they released a statement:
“We are thankful and blessed for the rare gift that has been placed in our care. We have engaged a team of advisors to educate and guide us through this process so that we can be good stewards of these new resources. While many decisions are still to be made, we have committed nearly all of this new resource to a Trust and to charities that are important to us. While we are very grateful for the wonderful wishes and encouragement we’ve received, it is not our intention to become public figures, and we ask for and appreciate privacy going forward. Thank you.”
Speculation surrounded the identity of the Chino Hills ticket owner for months. The January jackpot was the biggest in U.S. lottery history, and the two other winners, from Tennessee and Florida, came forward within days of the drawing.
A Pomona nurse mistakenly believed she owned the winning ticket after her son pulled a prank on her.
But the Acostas opted to stay silent until they got their affairs in order, said lottery spokesman Alex Traverso.
“They did all the stuff we hoped they would … they got a lawyer, made a plan, got everything squared away so they could get their claim and sort of disappear,” he said. “They’re going to fall off the grid. That’s going to be an interesting challenge.”
The 7-Eleven that sold the winning ticket received the maximum award of $1 million.
For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna on Twitter.
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12:10 p.m.: This article was updated with details of the winners’ home in Riverside County.
10 a.m.: This article was updated with details on the winning ticket’s value.
This article was originally published at 9:40 a.m.
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