A California nurse with seven children was apparently pranked by her son into thinking she won Wednesday's record Powerball jackpot - a feel good story that spread rapidly online Thursday but had lottery officials skeptical.
The 62-year-old nurse was even identified by her employer, Park Avenue Health & Wellness Center in Pomona, California, who also may have fell for the prank. Inform News has the details in this video.
Workers celebrated at the Southern California nursing home when word spread that a co-worker had a winning ticket for this week's $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot.
It didn't take long before several media outlets reported, based on anonymous sources, that the feel-good tale was a prank by the woman's son.
A spokesman for Brius Healthcare called news media Thursday to relay the story of a nurse winning a share of the jackpot after owner Shlomo Rechnitz bought tickets for his employees.
Spokesman Josh Nass says he was told the nurse's son sent her a cellphone picture of a ticket.
The New York Daily News reports the nurse's daughter says it was an embarrassing prank. The Los Angeles Times reports the daughter asked to remain anonymous to avoid drawing more attention to her family.
Rechnitz, a health care magnate who owns 80 assisted-living facilities throughout California, purchased nearly 18,000 lottery tickets for all of his employees, the Jerusalem Post reported. The Pomona center is operated and owned by Rechnitz, the Jersualem Post said in the online article.
Rechnitz, a 44-year-old Los Angeles entrepreneur, whose facilities have been the focus of multiple local, state and federal probes, was part of a Sacramento Bee investigation.
The Bee found that homes he owned for all of 2014 were tagged with nearly triple as many serious deficiencies per 1,000 beds that year as the average for California nursing homes owned by other chains or individuals, according to the latest figures from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In addition, the FBI served search warrants in October at his Riverside facility.
His stable of nursing homes in California has expanded rapidly in the last decade, giving him control of about 1 in every 14 skilled nursing beds in the state, according to a Bee investigation.
The unprecedented $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot will be divided among three winning tickets purchased in Tennessee, California and Florida.
Each ticket is worth $528.8 million, lottery officials said.