RELEASE DATE: 9/6/2012
Sacramento – Chalk this one up to the power of the media. Mere hours after Lottery officials released a photo to the media asking for help in identifying a potential $52 million Lottery winner did that person walk into the Lottery’s Sacramento District Office to claim their colossal prize (see attached*).
The winning ticket was for the MEGA Millions draw on July 27. Marita and Bladimir Agnite of Fremont said they didn’t know that they had hit the jackpot until a relative called Bladimir to tell him that they thought they had seen his picture on the news. The picture was a snapshot image taken from surveillance video from Kwik Stop located at 3157 Walnut Avenue in Fremont, which is where the winning ticket had been sold. Lottery officials released the image after noting that someone had checked the ticket multiple times at area Raley’s and Safeway stores, but had failed to claim the win.
“I scanned it multiple times. See the clerk. We didn’t see the amount, just see the clerk. We didn’t know,” said Bladimir explaining why they had waited over a month to come forward. He heeded the advice from his in-laws to go on the Lottery’s website to see the photo image for himself. Once he saw himself on the screen he immediately got his wife out of bed to share the news. “He said, ‘We’re wanted!’” said Marita who added that she was also floored when she saw the picture too. “My stomach started … I started crying. He hugged me and we just cried and cried,” said Marita.
What an amazing turn of events. Bladimir had been laid off from his job at a printing company. Marita works as a nursing assistant at a Bay Area hospital. The humble couple is determined to remain level headed about their win and to keep their children grounded. “They know how to cook and how to clean. We’ve tried to stick together whatever was happening,” said Marita. She sees college in her children’s future. The Lottery winnings will certainly cover those expenses. The money will also cover the cost of a much needed house. “We have been living with friends. Now we’re renting an apartment,” said Bladimir. Even after the massive win the Agnites say they don’t want to take anything for granted. So even though she is now a multi-millionaire, Marita believes she will keep working. “You can’t just quit the job. You never know what’s gonna happen,” said Bladimir.
The winning numbers in the draw were 2, 3, 4, 8, 43 and the Mega number 26.
“We see this as an integrity and transparency issue. 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,” said Russ Lopez, Deputy Director of Corporate Communications in explaining the release of the photo.
MEGA Millions jackpot winning tickets may be claimed up to one full year from the date of ticket purchase. All other wins expire after six months.
The California Lottery reminds players to always sign the back of their tickets, store them in a safe place, and check the winning numbers after the draw is concluded.
The mission of the California Lottery is to provide supplemental funding to California schools while simultaneously supporting local communities. More than 94 cents of every dollar spent by our players goes back to local communities in the form of contributions to public schools and colleges, prizes and retail compensation. Since 2000, Lottery players have contributed $1 billion to public schools each year, and, since we began in 1985, Lottery players have contributed a total of more than $25 billion to education. The California Lottery urges its customers to play responsibly and within their budgets. If you feel you have a gambling problem, or know someone who does, you can get help at 1-800-GAMBLER.