AUSTIN (CN) – A Spanish-speaking Texan’s friends told him he couldn’t redeem a $2 million Powerball ticket because he is not a citizen and ran off with his money, the man claims in court.
Nereo Aguirre, of Burnet County, sued husband and wife Galdino Bueno and Elena Rebollar in Travis County Court.
Aguirre said his ticket for the Aug. 31, 2013, Powerball drawing was a winner.
“Because plaintiff does not speak or read English, he sough the assistance of defendants to look on their computer to see how much he had won and how to collect the winnings,” the complaint states.
“Defendant, Elena Rebollar, offered to go in person to the [Texas] Lottery Commission office to find out how much plaintiff won and how to collect it. Instead, without informing plaintiff or obtaining plaintiff’s prior authorization or consent, defendant signed the lottery ticket and represented to the Lottery Commission that the ticket was hers.”
Aguirre claims Rebollar offered to collect the winnings for him and to pay him what was left after taxes, and he accepted the offer.
“Defendant did not inform plaintiff that the Texas Lottery website instructions were to call and make an appointment and that the Texas Lottery website explains that one need not be a United States citizen to win,” the complaint states. “Defendant collected plaintiff’s winnings by representing to the Texas Lottery Commission that she had purchased the ticket and that plaintiff was her half-brother. Defendant has not given plaintiff all of the money collected and has demanded more and more of the winnings for herself and family members, including Galdino Bueno.”
Aguirre claims he has been paid $315,000, leaving at least $1.2 million remaining to be handed over.
The Texas Lottery Commission did not respond to a request for comment. It is not a party to the lawsuit.
Bueno and Rebollar could not be reached for comment over the weekend.
Aguirre seeks actual and punitive damages for breach of contract, fraud and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. He also seeks an accounting of the winnings and appointment of a receiver. He is represented by Xavier Medina in Austin, who declined to comment on the lawsuit today.
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