Valley man's Powerball picture hoax goes viral

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- A photo seems to show an astonished man proudly displaying his winning Powerball ticket. But we've learned two things in the past few days as this photo burned up the Internet. The man, Nolan Daniels, is from the Valley and that ticket he's holding is fake.

Derek Daniels is his brother who works in Mesa. Since Nolan isn't yet talking about his Internet infamy, Derek told us the photoshoped pic likely started as a funny prank for Nolan's group of friends. But it could turn into one of Facebook's most shared posts ever.

Nolan's Thursday night post said he'd give a random person who shared the photo on Facebook $1 million.

"[It's] like an inside joke, and his friends would cling onto that and it just spread from there so I don't think it was ever meant to be as huge as it got," Derek said.

Huge is right. In the days since, Nolan's post gained more than 54,000 likes. More than 2 million people followed orders and shared the photo, making for a lot of new friends, and some enemies. Even though the ticket's "winning" numbers are out of order and a closer look shows that it's doctored, some people are still sharing and commenting, thinking it's true.

"With social media out there it's really easy to put a joke out there and see what reaction you'll get," said Karen Bach with the Arizona Lottery. 

So the wait continues for the real winner, who has 180 days after the drawing to claim their prize.