LAKELAND, Fla. — A Lakeland, Florida, man is suing a friend who he says cheated him out of money from a $1 million lottery ticket.
Court records show John Rhoades filed a lawsuit against Tyler Scott, and Scott's girlfriend Brittany Causey. Wells Fargo Bank is also listed as a defendant.
Rhoades said he used his own money to purchase a winning Florida Lottery scratch-off ticket from a Wawa gas station located on Highway 98 in Lakeland.
He says he showed Scott the winning ticket, and his friend told him it was only worth $100,000. Rhoades later learned it was worth $1 million.
According to the lawsuit, Rhoades has limited education and comprehension, and he did not have a driver's license. He asked Scott to drive to the Florida Lottery office in Tallahassee to cash in the winning ticket and agreed to give Scott $10,000 for the task. Rhoades was living with Scott at the time. He says he trusted his roommate and didn't think twice about letting him cash in the ticket.
The lawsuit claims Scott didn't hand over any money, and deposited the tax amount into a bank account instead. He allegedly gave Rhoades $35,000 two weeks later, then refused to fork over the remaining $29,000. At this time, Rhoades tells us he was still under the impression that the ticket was worth $100,000.
Kevin Cox, the plaintiff's attorney, called Scott to have him wire over the remaining $29,000 to Rhoades and the defendant obliged, according to the lawsuit.
Scott is currently on probation and his attorney, Paul Reed, claims his client was threatened by Rhoades' lawyers and decided to wire the remaining $29,000 to avoid a lawsuit and more jail time.
Reed also claims the winning ticket never belonged to Rhoades because it was bought for Scott with Scott's money.
Rhoades became suspicious when he noticed Scott had purchased an expensive truck and had been doing "outrageous spending" and decided to have someone call the Florida Lottery office. That's when he learned the real reward amount.
The lawsuit claims that Scott denied Rhoades access to his right of the money by cashing a ticket ten times the amount Rhoades thought it was worth.
A circuit court judge has ordered that Wells Fargo accounts where Scott deposited be frozen until the case is resolved.
Taylor Nash, the Deputy Communications Director of the Florida Lottery said the organization is aware of the lawsuit, but would not comment on the lawsuit or explain why there will be no response from the Florida Lottery regarding this matter.
The case is expected to be argued during a jury trial.