Mystery $23 million lotto jackpot winner revealed!

Charliena Borunda (left) is the mystery woman in the surveillance photo that was circulated to the media on Tuesday. She bought the $23 million lottery ticket for her mother, Julie Cervera (right), who said she had $1 in her purse and an overdrawn checking account when she found out about the win.

SAN BERNARDINO – It took more than five months and a surveillance photo released by the California Lottery, nevertheless, Julie Cervera is one happy woman.

Her story is unlike any other in recent Lottery history, and it’s a story that ends with a $23 million SuperLotto Plus jackpot prize.

Usually when it takes a person more than five months to come forward and claim their prize it’s because they lost their ticket. Or, they just never come forward to claim their prize at all.

In Julie’s case, she was on the receiving end of a very interesting text message from her daughter yesterday morning.

Julie’s daughter, Charliena, sent her a picture of the exact photo the Lottery released on Tuesday – the surveillance video photo that shows Charliena buying what turned out to be the SuperLotto Plus ticket that won the $23 million jackpot on the evening of May 30.

When Julie saw the photo she immediately thought the worst – for some reason, in her mind, those photos are always associated with people that just committed a crime. In this case, however, it was a photo of her daughter about to buy the jackpot-winning ticket for her mom.

Now here’s where the story gets interesting – Charliena gave the ticket to her mom and Julie then stashed the ticket in the new used car she had just purchased. Excited about the car, Julie rolled off to show some friends and completely forgot about the ticket.

So when Charliena called to tell her the good news, she immediately went out to her car and found the ticket right where she left it more than five months ago.

“When she called me, my first thought was ‘please don’t be playing a prank on your mom,’” said Julie in describing the moment her daughter called her after sending the photo. “I didn’t know what to feel or do.”

The mystery woman in this photo is Charliena Borunda, who bought the winning ticket for her mom, Julie Cervera, at a Palmdale convenience store in May.

She added that after her daughter sent her a photo of the newspaper account of the win, she put on her “99 Cent Store glasses” and checked the photo. She then realized that she was a big winner.

But like most Lottery winners, Julie had to double-check. So she went to a local retail location and had the clerk check her ticket. “He just said ‘wow,’” Julie said, “then he gave me a copy of the numbers from that night.” That sealed the deal for her.

When asked how she planned to spend her winnings, Julie said “I want to take my time and not buy anything crazy.”

She then added that she plans to give her daughter, Charliena, a tidy sum, and help out other members of her immediate family.

Julie adopted two special needs kids, and also wants to make sure that the three kids left behind when her son was killed in an accident are well taken care of.

Herself a widow, Julie has had to take on a lot, and this money couldn’t have come at a better time. “I think I have $1 in my purse right now and my checking account is overdrawn,” she said before adding that she might indulge a little and take a trip to Disneyland.

Julie really did claim her prize just in the nick of time.

At the close of business on November 26, had she not come forward to claim her prize, the unclaimed funds would have been transferred to California schools, and her winning ticket would have officially expired. The winning ticket was purchased at Michael’s Market & Liquor, which is located at 37935 47th Street East in Palmdale. The ticket matched all six numbers – 14, 7, 26, 31, 23 and Mega 5.

Michael’s Market & Liquor will receive a bonus of one half percent, or $115,000, for selling the winning ticket. Jackpot winners have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim the jackpot prize. The estimated cash option amount for this ticket is $17.8 million.

In an ongoing effort to connect Lottery customers with their winnings, the California Lottery has begun sending out photos of apparent winners of unclaimed prizes. In FY 2011/12, a total of more than $20.5 million in prizes went unclaimed. So far, in the three months since the Lottery has enacted this policy for tickets worth more than $250,000, the Lottery has released two photos, and both times the rightful winners have come forward to claim within a matter of days. The previous ticket was a $52 million MEGA Millions® jackpot ticket that was sold in Fremont in August.

(Information via press released from the California Lottery.)

  15 comments for “Mystery $23 million lotto jackpot winner revealed!

    November 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

    @ fransis stfu.

  2. Sabrina
    November 4, 2012 at 1:24 am

    God bless you with this money, enjoy it with your family and watch out for New friends, now you will see people and organizations asking you for money, don’t believe their sad stories.

  3. November 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Dear Charline Borunda & July Servara May GOD Bless you. Very Happy.
    I Francis have voluntary organization called as” CREATIVE SOCIAL WELFARE SOCIETY”
    We are dedicated to serve the downtrodden poor people. Mainly we are doing our works in rural areas by the grace of GOD.
    We uplift their livelihood to aware then in all aspects to provide children Education to aware health provide medicines. Mainly we formation of self-help group and Mahila groups for there sake of finical assistant we run the orphan children homes, HIV/AIDS awareness programs to provide some support to the victims . we conducting AIDS awareness camps water and sanitation monitoring water quality and surveillance ,child rehabilitation programs.
    We have sufficient infrastructure facilities with our organization running the program successfully.
    Hence I request you to kindly give us an opportunity to serve the poor people you also to serve the partner of this programs GOD blessed your family and we also serve the same. It is the will of our Lord “jesus Christ.”
    Hence we request you please consider our proposal for which act of kindness, I shall ever grateful to you.
    Our address
    Door.Number :47-1-24
    Lurdhu Nagar, Gunadala, Vijayawada
    Krishna dt, Andhra Pradesh, INDIA.

    • November 4, 2012 at 2:12 am

      Are you freakin kidding me? Leave these people alone. Seriously asking them for a handout for a foreign country?

      • Frank Rizzo
        November 4, 2012 at 8:47 am

        This looks like another scam from India.

  4. QHR
    November 3, 2012 at 8:00 am

    This is crazy, But here’s my number, So call me, maybe? :)
    Congrats to her!

  5. taz1516
    November 3, 2012 at 7:19 am

    way to go have a ball with it all

  6. XOXO
    November 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    what a beautiful blessing from GOD !!

    • G A Cirqueira
      November 3, 2012 at 7:08 am

      Hello misses Charliena you is very sympathetic and I was delighted with you, will you marry me? please contact, I am Brazilian and I’d love to make you happy.


  7. Concered
    November 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    This lady single? Would love to hook that up!!

  8. Michele
    November 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Good karma!

  9. J. Ripper
    November 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Here’s hoping that Charliena is at least 18 and the ticket was legally purchased… because that’s the first thing that crosses my mind is, why did she buy the ticket for her mom? Sure that’s conceivable, but you have to be 18 to buy a lottery ticket, and from the photo, she may or may not be 18. Not trying to stir the [self-removed] pot, just wondering!

    • J. Ripper
      November 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Actually, she looks plenty over 18 in the lotto picture… mid-late 20s. Glad to see that it’ll be legit and they’ll get the money!

    • Dinky
      November 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      That would really suck if that happens she does look young but not under 18 young

        November 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm


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