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Canadian man sues 16 friends for share of $1 million lottery prize despite not paying for ticket

May 4, 2022, 12:18 pm

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Canada Lotto MaxCanada Lotto Max: Canadian man sues 16 friends for share of $1 million lottery prize despite not paying for ticketRating:

By Kate Northrop

A Canadian pizza delivery driver is lawyering up against his 16 friends who won a $1 million Lotto Max Maxmillion prize, saying that he is owed a portion of the money despite not paying for the winning Lotto Max ticket.

Philip Tsotsos of Windsor, Ontario claims he deserves a $70,000 share of the $1 million prize his 16 friends split last summer in a Maxmillion Lotto Max drawing, accusing the group of "stealing his dreams."

Last June, a lottery group consisting of 16 members won a $1 million prize in the Ontario Lottery. The group did not include Tsotsos among its ranks, who says he was betrayed by his friends.

"Why wouldn't they tell me they won?" Tsotsos told CBC. "These guys are like family to me."

Tsotsos named each of the 16 friends in his lawsuit, which claims that he is owed $70,000 and other costs, including interest, and that he should be named the 17th winner.

"Their dreams came true," he said. "Why should they steal mine?"

Defense lawyer David Robins, who is representing the group of 16 winners, says that Tsotsos does not have much of a case.

"Mr. Tsotsos did not pay to play, so we deny that he is entitled to any of the relief that he is seeking, and we'll be vigorously defending the claim," Robins contended. "In this instance, he did not play and he was not included."

Robins said he will be filing a statement of defense within the next few weeks, and the issue is likely headed to civil court.

However, Tsotsos says that the situation is not as black and white as it seems. At his previous job at an auto parts delivery company, he was involved in a lottery pool with his coworkers. Although he switched jobs, he remained with the group. The group had suspended play when the pandemic took off in 2020 but resumed buying tickets again in March 2021.

"I was approached in June, saying, 'Phil, there's a major on. Do you want in?" Tsotsos recalls being told by a group member.

"Of course I'm in," he replied.

Tsotsos says the group had a credit system, meaning that he did not always immediately pay for lottery tickets leading up to the next draw. There were several instances where he owed $100, which he says he always paid off. In the six years he's participated in the group, he was never kicked out.

"The pool operated on an opt-out basis," Tsotsos' claim reads. "If a member chose to exit, they would have to communicate same to the organizer."

Along that same vein, should a member be disqualified from the group, it would have to be clearly communicated to said member.

This is where the situation gets a little convoluted. Leading up to the drawing last June, Tsotsos had owed $30 to the group and was told via text message by the group's organizer, Steven Todesco, that he would have to pay back the amount plus put another $10 into the pool in order to remain in the group.

Initially, Tsotsos agreed, but then pushed back.

"This Friday I will, 40," a transcribed text message from Tsotsos reads. "Actually I won't have to pay you anything. Just take it out of our winnings when we win."

"Ha, OK, but I charge interest, a high interest rate. I have kids to feed lol," Todesco responded, according to the court filing.

Another group member, Jessie Reid, reportedly reminded Tsotsos to contribute the $10 he owed to the pool so he wouldn't get kicked out, but he replied that he would be participating for certain.

"Ok, just wanted it in writing before the draw lol," Reid texted.

In an interview with CBC, Tsotsos said he would cook for members in the group and bring them pizzas. He discovered the group's win on social media in October 2021 when he recognized one of the members holding a check for the winnings in a photo.

"I got online and I was just going through social media and what comes up," he recalled. "The same guy that's eating my pizza is holding a million-dollar check, and that's how I found out. How would you feel? That hurt me more than anything."

 After the group won the $1 million prize, each individual took home about a $62,500 share, which would have been slightly less had Tsotsos been the 17th winner.

"We all would have won $58,000," he said. "This is all over a difference of $4,500."

 Tsotsos and his lawyer, Joseph De Luca, say that this situation is a prime example of how group lottery play can go awry, and that should a player choose to participate in one, there should be checks put in place to protect oneself and other participating members.

"It is regulated and there are forms available, and this type of problem can be avoided," De Luca explained.

The Ontario Lottery offers Play Smart cards on their website, which can help track group lottery play online to record who is paying.

"I don't want anyone else going through this," Tsotsos said in the interview.

While De Luca and Tsotsos have tried to negotiate and settle with the group and their legal team, Robins said they are not seeking options outside of court and will be filing a statement of defense in the coming weeks.

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50 comments. Last comment 13 days ago by djpowerball1234.
Page 1 of 4
cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

United States
Member #197030
March 28, 2019
1048 Posts
Offline

Tsotsos says the group had a credit system, meaning that he did not always immediately pay for lottery tickets leading up to the next draw. There were several instances where he owed $100, which he says he always paid off. In the six years he's participated in the group, he was never kicked out.

Leading up to the drawing last June, Tsotsos had owed $30 to the group and was told via text message by the group's organizer, Steven Todesco, that he would have to pay back the amount plus put another $10 into the pool in order to remain in the group.

"This Friday I will, 40," a transcribed text message from Tsotsos reads. "Actually I won't have to pay you anything. Just take it out of our winnings when we win."

 

These people should have had a clearly written, legally binding operating agreement, and definitely no "credit system." Pay to Play. Anything else is asking for trouble with a side of grief. It's absolutely wild to me that Tsotsos thought he could play without contributing anything and the group would just take the cost of tickets out of his share. 

"They stole my dreams and they're eating my pizza!"

LOL

    Avatar
    * In hot pursuit of $ *
    White Shores- California
    United States
    Member #136471
    December 12, 2012
    6799 Posts
    Offline

    * Found Phil's mug in the Toronto Sun online, and the guy looked pretty loaded for an interview. In all seriousness- Phil's chances of winning are the same as a donkey beating Secretariat at Churchill Downs. Just my opinion..

     * Voice of Reason *   

    * People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

      Raven62's avatar - binary
      25
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #17842
      June 28, 2005
      155419 Posts
      Online

      He's acting like the victim after mooching off his friends to play the Lottery.

      A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

      Catch-22: A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

      Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges: When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous.

      The best way to learn is to never stop being a student!

        TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
        Brooklyn, NY
        United States
        Member #169716
        October 29, 2015
        1558 Posts
        Offline

        Like my Daddy always said....."You play with fire and you'll get burnt"

        They asked him to pay and he didn't.

        No soup for you!

        The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

        “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

        Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

          andl's avatar - hSk1nCp

          United States
          Member #193179
          October 22, 2018
          27 Posts
          Offline

          You have to pay to play. He should get nothing.

            Avatar
            New York
            United States
            Member #103596
            January 4, 2011
            7775 Posts
            Offline

            Do the winners have a moral obligation to pay him a 1/17th share test: if they didn't win, would his tab have been increased by $10 from $30 to $40? If yes, he's included; if no, he's out. Legally is obviously a different issue. Integrity- what you do when no one is watching.

              Tony Numbers's avatar - Lottery-022.jpg
              Bronx ny
              United States
              Member #158510
              August 25, 2014
              957 Posts
              Offline

              Sounds like this guy is the deadbeat of the group. If he had ponied up his share, we wouldn't be reading this.

                wander73's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

                United States
                Member #153767
                March 24, 2014
                5773 Posts
                Offline

                I already seen this story on msn.  Really sad about people and something isn't adding up right on this story.   The guy that is doing pizza delivery if what I read,  isn't getting a dime.   Not worth suing.  So tired of people taking advantage of such things.

                Anyone can beat my price,  no one can beat my value.

                I don't sell the steak,  I sell the sizzle!

                I set the market value on items

                  wander73's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

                  United States
                  Member #153767
                  March 24, 2014
                  5773 Posts
                  Offline

                  Sounds like this guy is the deadbeat of the group. If he had ponied up his share, we wouldn't be reading this.

                  I already read majority of the story.    I don't quite understand somethings to it.

                  Anyone can beat my price,  no one can beat my value.

                  I don't sell the steak,  I sell the sizzle!

                  I set the market value on items

                    wander73's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

                    United States
                    Member #153767
                    March 24, 2014
                    5773 Posts
                    Offline

                    You have to pay to play. He should get nothing.

                    if it goes to court,   waste of time.  The judge will throw this out.  Period.

                    Anyone can beat my price,  no one can beat my value.

                    I don't sell the steak,  I sell the sizzle!

                    I set the market value on items

                      wander73's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

                      United States
                      Member #153767
                      March 24, 2014
                      5773 Posts
                      Offline

                      Sorry for the fourth time commenting.

                       

                      If it does go through court,  he will be paying more than anything that would be won.  Not worth it.  not worth suing.   He might have to show some assets if he owns anything to cover for the costs.   You all really think a lawyer or judge wants this case.  It's not worth it.  If it was over a will, deed or something  else different story.

                      Anyone can beat my price,  no one can beat my value.

                      I don't sell the steak,  I sell the sizzle!

                      I set the market value on items

                        Tony Numbers's avatar - Lottery-022.jpg
                        Bronx ny
                        United States
                        Member #158510
                        August 25, 2014
                        957 Posts
                        Offline

                        Maybe they just didn't like this dude, and had every intention of stiffing him from the beginning

                          Avatar
                          Kentucky
                          United States
                          Member #32651
                          February 14, 2006
                          9573 Posts
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                          "Mr. Tsotsos did not pay to play, so we deny that he is entitled to any of the relief that he is seeking, and we'll be vigorously defending the claim," Robins contended. "In this instance, he did not play and he was not included."

                          He "did not pay to play"; what am I missing?

                          "Let's go Darwin"

                            Avatar
                            New Member
                            New York
                            United States
                            Member #222324
                            May 4, 2022
                            1 Posts
                            Offline

                            The guy that said he charges a high interest should raise the interest on what he has to pay to cover all that he's claiming