Efforts to find the winners of the $52 million California Mega Millions lottery jackpot resulted in the ticket holder being caught on camera. A month after a Mega Millions lotto draw, the California Lottery still hadn't found the winner, so they decided to post a photo of a man wearing sunglasses and a white t-shirt who they believed had bought the winning ticket.
'The California Lottery truly believes that when a person buys a lottery ticket with the hope and prayer of changing their lives, we should do all we can to connect them with their winnings. We believe this effort will make a lot of Californians very happy’ Russ Lopez, deputy director of corporate communications for the lottery, said. The numbers on his winning Mega Millions lottery ticket for the draw held on July 27th 2012 were 2, 3, 4, 8, 43 with the Mega number 26.
A few hours after the image was made public an unemployed man from Fremont came forward to claim the Mega Millions lotto prize. Bladimir Agnite had no idea he had won until an in-law called him in excitement to say he had seen Bladimir's picture on television news. The video image was taken at a Kwik Stop at 3157 Walnut Avenue in Fremont, where Bladimir bought the Mega Millions prize winning ticket on July 25th. Bladimir then rushed to the store to check the ticket. “I scanned it multiple times and the message 'See the clerk' appeared on the screen. We didn’t see the amount, just, 'See the clerk'. We didn’t know,” he told Lottery officials who wondered why he waited more than a month to cash in. Bladimirs wife, Marita, said she started crying when she knew they had won the California Mega Millions lotto. "He hugged me and we just cried and cried," she said.
The latest multi-millionaire is currently unemployed having been laid off from his printing job and Marita works as a nurse at a hospital but the family has had to live with friends to make ends meet. The couple are now looking forward to a very different future thanks to their Mega Millions lottery jackpot. Not too different for Marita however, as she intends to carry on working at the hospital where she is employed as a nursing assistant. You can’t just quit the job," Bladimir said. "You never know what’s going to happen." Bladimir and Marita, who have been together 17 years, say they will use the Californian Mega Millions lotto money to send their children to college and buy a house.
The owner of the store who sold the winning ticket, Ajay Kuma shared his excitement that a customer had struck gold. 'I am so happy that God has given me the chance to make some guy rich,' he told KPIX-TV. Hoping for a repeat performance, the shop has seen a huge influx of customers eager to experience the same good fortune. More than $20 million has gone unclaimed in the last year alone and the lottery is proactively looking for winners by publishing photos of people they believe might be winners. The moral of the tale appears to be to always check your ticket – you just never know! 'I'm glad they took the chance, it's hard for them to do it,' Bladimir said in praise of lottery officials.