Proving that a winning lottery ticket did not come from a pool is very hard as Americo Lopes discovered yesterday. As we wrote earlier, Lopes was the purchase-man for a lottery pool at work at a New Jersey construction firm. When Lopes struck the jackpot winning $77 million, he kept the news to himself, later claiming that he independently bought the winning ticket.
As you can imagine, his poolmates were outraged and brought a lottery ticket lawsuit. Despite showing records of over a thousand bets, a jury sided with the plaintiffs and ordered that Lopes hand over $20 million to his poolmates. Lopes whined that he was robbed, reports the New York Post.
For at least three years, Lopes and five fellow construction workers would throw in $2 each to buy lottery tickets. In 2009, the group struck it big, hitting the $77 million jackpot. However, Lopes said that the ticket did not come from the pool, and did not want to share the winnings, reports the Post.
To prove his case, Lopes introduced evidence showing the winning ticket with five rows of numbers labeled A through E. Row A contained the winning numbers. Row D contained Lopes' personal numbers which he bet on every ticket for the past 28 years: 02-12-29-31-42-44. Lopes said he only bet his personal numbers on his own tickets.
But the New Jersey jury did not buy this argument and found that the winning ticket was part of the pool. So instead of keeping the $77 million to himself, Americo Lopes will be taking home about $4 million after taxes, the same as his poolmates in this lottery ticket lawsuit.
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