Lotto winner almost misses payout

Nov. 4, 2012 at 2:58 PM   |   Comments

VICTORVILLE, Calif., Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Lottery officials tracked down a California woman who failed to claim a prize of $23 million for five months.

Julie Cervera, 69, came forward to claim her prize Thursday, although her winning ticket was bought on May 30, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Cervera said she had her daughter, Charliena Marquez, pick up the ticket May 30 at a Palmdale liquor store. Cervera put the California Super Lotto Plus in the glove compartment of her car and forgot about it.

After the winning ticket holder failed to come forward, lottery officials began tracking her down. Knowing which store winning ticket was sold at, they reviewed footage from the store's security camera and captured a grainy image of Marquez in the store.

The image was then put on TV and in newspapers and Marquez began receiving phone calls about the ticket.

Marquez said at first she did not believe it was her, but then remembered buying the ticket for her mother.

She quickly informed her mother, who remembered exactly where she put the ticket. "I know where I put my junk," Cervera said.

Cervera said she plans on sharing her winnings with her family.

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