Money does strange things to people.
Every day, many Florida citizens spend a few of their hard-earned dollars on lottery tickets hoping to win big. When jackpots rise, even more people play – sometimes chipping in with friends or co-workers with the hope of increasing the odds of winning. Lottery playing readers will be interested to hear that not long ago, a New Jersey jury gave $20 million to a group of co-workers who were part of a lottery pool gone sour when one member tried to hide the winning ticket.
The case brought with it a significant result. No members of the group signed any type of contract that said they would share the pot. The intent was shown by testimony only. In a unanimous decision, the jury found that member liable for both fraud and breach of contract.
Since 2007, this particular group of co-workers occasionally purchased Mega Millions lottery tickets whenever the total jackpot went higher than $50 million. The defendant lottery winner was in charge of collecting the money from the other members and also for buying the tickets.
The defendant purchased 12 tickets at a store near his home in November 2009. It was from this batch that the winning ticket was produced. He did not tell the others about winning. He chose to take the $24 million for himself. In March 2010, the man explained that he had won the lottery and quit his job.
The man’s co-workers learned that the winnings came months earlier, when their lottery pool took place. The plaintiffs filed a complaint in May 2010. They were able to freeze the lottery winnings and were granted partial summary judgment for $20.18 million if the case could be proven.
This ending of this story may be unique, but what began it is not. Many people across the county, including Miami, play the lottery. Unfortunately, winning a high sum can create problems some ticketholders may not foresee when dreaming of a life free from financial worries. In such cases, the legal system can help defend against one person’s greed and ensure that all players get their fair share.