Lottery Winner Court Ordered To Share Winnings

21 Mar

There were some dark twists in the plot line, inevitable, perhaps, when friends fight over $38.5 million in lottery winnings.

The friends, construction workers from New Jersey, said they had pooled their money for lottery tickets for years. Five of them relied on a member of their little group, Americo Lopes, to buy the tickets. In November 2009, he collected their money and bought a Mega Millions ticket that won, but he told no one except lottery officials. He cashed in the ticket as if it were his alone.

The lottery deducted taxes and sent Mr. Lopes a check for $17,433,966. He quit his job, saying he needed foot surgery.

“We believed him,” said one of the others, Candido Silva Jr. — until several months later, when Mr. Lopes told another man in the group that he had won the lottery a week after he had stopped working. As word of his luck spread, yet another man checked a Web site, found Mr. Lopes’s name and discovered when he had hit it big.

On Wednesday, a jury in Union County ordered Mr. Lopes to share the winnings with the five former co-workers. Read the whole story here.

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