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$1.4 Million Lottery Prize Winner Found

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Nov. 10, 2005)  The winner of a state lottery prize drawn last summer and worth $1.47 million has been identified.  An investigation conducted by the Arizona Lottery determined that Cuauhtémoc Jose Luis Castañeda Yánez of Nogales, Sonora, purchased The Pick winning ticket at a Nogales Circle K store for the drawing held on June 25.

The Attorney General’s Office recovered the winnings in August after Circle K reported to the Lottery a rumor that the clerk had falsely claimed the winning ticket as her own.  The clerk, Delia Kerr, 50, and her sister Susan, 41, were arrested August 15 by Nogales Police for theft and fraud after learning the sisters allegedly opened a bank account in Tucson with a check for over $1 million from the Arizona Lottery. 

The ticket actually belonged to a man who presented several tickets to Kerr at the Nogales Circle K for validation. Kerr allegedly scanned his tickets and returned them. The man complained to Circle K that Kerr had not returned one of his tickets. The Circle K manager attempted to help the man find the missing ticket, but it was not found, and an investigation followed. 

Castañeda was proclaimed the winner after he stepped forward and Lottery officials were able to positively identify him on the basis of video tapes, computer data transactions and witness interviews.

The Attorney General’s Office today submitted a forfeiture order in Maricopa County Superior Court directing that the seized money be returned to Castañeda.