Nursing home magnate hands out 15,000 lottery tickets
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Nursing home magnate hands out 15,000 lottery tickets

Shlomo Rechnitz buys Powerball tickets for employees and residents to boost morale at California facilities

A customer holds a handful of Powerball tickets at Kavanagh Liquors on January 13, 2016 in San Lorenzo, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)
A customer holds a handful of Powerball tickets at Kavanagh Liquors on January 13, 2016 in San Lorenzo, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)

The Jewish owner of a California chain of nursing homes bought 15,000 Powerball lottery tickets for his employees and residents.

The gift by Shlomo Rechnitz, a health care magnate who owns 80 assisted living facilities throughout the Golden State, gave the beneficiaries a crack at winning record jackpot of $1.6 billion, though it is not clear whether any of them actually won in the raffle Thursday.

Initial reports that an employee of Rechnitz, a nurse from Pomona, was among the three winners were later refuted by the family and dismissed as a practical joke played on the nurse by her son, the New York Daily reported. The identities of the winners have not been made known.

Rechnitz told the Daily media he bought the tickets to boost morale at his facilities.

Healthcare magnate Shlomo Rechnitz (YouTube screenshot)
Healthcare magnate Shlomo Rechnitz (YouTube screenshot)

In November, Rechnitz made the headlines with an equally generous gesture, paying for dinner for 400 US soldiers he encountered during a layover in Ireland as he and his family traveled to Israel.

Rechnitz reportedly saw the soldiers eating food out of paper sacks and approached their commander for permission to pay for a meal for each one, with a budget of $50 per head. The businessman said he wanted to offer the troops the same choices as regular travelers.

But in October, the FBI served search warrants at Rechnitz’s Riverside facility, the Sacramento Bee reported, and the state attorney general’s office brought criminal charges against two of his former senior administrators.

The report said the FBI had confirmed that agents executed search warrants “seeking evidence in relation to alleged criminal activity” at the facility.

An FBI spokeswoman said she could not comment on the exact nature of the investigation as the affidavit in support of the warrants was under seal, the paper reported.

The two former employees were charged in connection with alleged abuse of two residents at a care center in Costa Mesa in 2014, the report said.

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