$1.3 billion Mega Millions lottery winner's family sues him for not sharing jackpot

May 15, 2024, 5:24 pm (48 comments)

Mega Millions

Family of lottery winner bites back in scathing legal battle; winner changes his story

By Kate Northrop

The $1.3 billion Mega Millions lottery winner sued the mother of his child for revealing the win to his family, but now, his father is accusing him of going back on a promise to share the jackpot.

The family of the $1.3 billion Mega Millions jackpot winner is biting back in court, claiming he went against his word that he would share the lottery winnings.

"I told him... 'You are not the son I knew,'" the winner's father, a retired police chief in his 70s, said in a sworn declaration filed Friday in federal court. "He got angry, calling me a 'dictator' and an [expletive]. I have not heard from my son since, and he has not done any of [the] things he promised."

In February 2023, one lucky winner stepped forward to claim the then-fourth-largest lottery jackpot in history from the Mega Millions drawing on Jan. 13, 2023. He opted for the one-time lump sum payment of $723.56 million and would have received just over $404 million after taxes, according to the Jackpot Analysis tool from USA Mega.

Although Maine state law allowed him to claim the jackpot without revealing his name, the guarantee of his anonymity may very well change, depending on how future events between himself and his family unfold.

In November, he accused the mother of his child, who goes by the pseudonym "Sara Smith" in court documents, of letting news of the win slip to his own parents. His sister then discovered the news through the grapevine, and depending on how far along the game of telephone has progressed, it is possible more people know.

The winner, named "John Doe" in filings, said that she had signed an NDA two weeks before he claimed the prize, which stipulates she must keep the jackpot win a secret until their daughter comes of age in 2032 to keep his identity, his daughter's identity, location, and assets hidden from the public eye.

For allegedly breaking the NDA, he sued her and demanded she pay $100,000 for every person she's revealed the win to and must reveal every single person she has told.

His story has since taken a complete 180.

On May 10, "John's" attorneys filed a motion for sanctions against "Sara." He stated that she tried to publicly expose his identity, twist his image, and lie about his conduct, including accusing him of kidnapping their daughter, withdrawing her from school, and only returning her to her mother when a court ordered him to do so.

"Sara" filed an opposition to "John's" motion, supplemented by written testimony from "John's" father. Additionally, "John" had admitted to telling his father that he had won the jackpot, despite originally accusing "Sara" of going behind his back and letting the news slip.

"I made the mistake of telling my father that I had won the lottery without having him sign a confidentiality agreement," "John" said in his refiled sanctions motion.

In "Sara's" opposition, she maintains that she did not tell "John's" father, stepmother, or sister about his lottery winnings. The documents also allege that "John" had, in fact, told his father much more than just the lottery win alone.

"['John'] told him a lot more than the naked fact he had won the lottery, including the fact that he had won over a billion dollars (reduced after taxes to about $500 million), what he planned on doing with the money, and all the things he said he would do for his father (which he never did)," the filings state.

The lottery winner's admission that he was the one to reveal the win, compounded with his father's own sworn declaration in legal documents, "Sara's" motion says, is enough to shatter "the remaining shards of this suit." She believes his motivation for filing the lawsuit against her in the first place was to use his "limitless resources to bully and intimidate her to make concessions in the on-going family matter concerning their daughter."

She recalled being harassed by "John's" legal counsel and "security team," even when their daughter was not with her, calling the behavior "terrifying, invasive, intimidating, and downright creepy." She reports being constantly followed, having her and her visitors' every move tracked, finding unmarked cars outside her home, and suspects that her electronic devices are being monitored.

Her daughter's school has also asked the "security team" to stay off the school property after other parents complained about seeing them lurking about. For months now, she often hears "a clicking noise" while she is on the phone and has had "a number of unexplained dropped calls."

The final nail in the coffin, she says, is his father's supplemental declaration.

"In or around February or March of 2023, my son came to my house in [REDACTED], and informed me and my wife that he won a large amount of money in the Maine State Lottery," his father says in the documents. "I understand that my son has stated that he told me nothing about his money other than 'the simple fact that I had won.' That is not true."

He goes on to say that his son disclosed the amount he won and that he had given his girlfriend half, so they would have $250 million each. Additionally, he says his son promised on building him a garage, buying him some old hobby cars to fix up, and purchasing his childhood home from his parents, "even though I didn't ask him for anything."

"He said, 'Find out what they want for it, and I'll pay double,'" the winner's father recalls his son saying. "This is not something my current wife and I wanted to do."

According to the sworn declaration, "John" also promised to set up a $1 million trust fund for his father, which would provide a monthly stipend. He would have 24-hour care if needed so that he would never have to go into assisted living or a nursing home.

"I also understand that he has stated that ['Sara']'s speaking with me and my wife ruined the relationship between me and my son," the retired police chief continues. "That is not true. It was my son who insisted that neither I nor my wife have any communications or contact with ['Sara']. ['Sara'] is the mother of our grandchild and we have had a good relationship with her over the years. I thought she was a good mother and we did not want to turn our back on her as he insisted."

"['John'] may be embarrassed — and should be embarrassed — that the public will learn that his father effectively has called him a liar, that he filed this lawsuit because he didn't want his own family to know that he won the lottery, that he was motivated to punish the mother of his child after she rejected him notwithstanding his billion-dollar lottery winnings, that he tried to buy custody of his daughter from ['Sara'], and having failed on that score, then used his wealth to try to overwhelm ['Sara'] in this Stalingrad litigation and thus extort concessions in the on-going family dispute concerning their daughter," "Sara's" scathing rebuttal concludes. "While we understand why ["John"] would want to hide these facts from the public, the public is entitled to know why ["John's] complaint is baseless and was filed for an improper purpose."

Lottery Post Staff

Comments

Todd's avatarTodd

Seems like the winner was too clever by half.

Artist77's avatarArtist77

Well, other than funds to support his child, he does not have to share his jp win. The whole family sounds like a train wreck.

I am curious about the colorful description of  his attorneys alleged aggressive tactics. Hope he has a good law firm. Not sure I would suggest he has to settle with them since they have no real claim there. I would suggest he set up a trust for his daughter  administered by a non family person. He then needs to move far away because this family will always want his $ and no settlement would be good enough. Not sure he has the best counsel.

Powerball765

At least now we know it was a He that won. 😊 l thought was a female. Seems like his money is too much headache. 🤕

Brock Lee's avatarBrock Lee

he sounds like a controlling nut job.

Artist77's avatarArtist77

Quote: Originally posted by Brock Lee on May 15, 2024

he sounds like a controlling nut job.

The entire family loves drama. This is why you cannot buy the silence of someone with lottery money. It just does not work out vs a regular NDA in other situations.

Brock Lee's avatarBrock Lee

Quote: Originally posted by Artist77 on May 15, 2024

The entire family loves drama. This is why you cannot buy the silence of someone with lottery money. It just does not work out vs a regular NDA in other situations.

confucius say, if your dad sides with your baby mama over you, you are the problem.

i love the new detail that the prize was actually split between him and his current gf. if she has two braincells to rub together she'll ditch him and his endless baby mama drama. girl, take your half and run!

EnReval

This story drained me.

if I win between MM or PB and walk away with 10-20mill, telling 2 people

if ova $100 yes will tell family n they only get a home (max $400k)n insurance, furniture and car under $30k

all this, u said she said will be shut down 

 

everybody knows I been playing same nbr ova 20 yrs n keep copies 

don't promise anything

Artist77's avatarArtist77

Quote: Originally posted by Brock Lee on May 15, 2024

confucius say, if your dad sides with your baby mama over you, you are the problem.

i love the new detail that the prize was actually split between him and his current gf. if she has two braincells to rub together she'll ditch him and his endless baby mama drama. girl, take your half and run!

But money changes everyone and the baby mama and father both want money so of course they teamed up. And it probably changed him as well. If they were not seeking money from him, it would be different.

He needs to stop promising $. He cannot help himself.

Bleudog101

Quote: Originally posted by EnReval on May 15, 2024

This story drained me.

if I win between MM or PB and walk away with 10-20mill, telling 2 people

if ova $100 yes will tell family n they only get a home (max $400k)n insurance, furniture and car under $30k

all this, u said she said will be shut down 

 

everybody knows I been playing same nbr ova 20 yrs n keep copies 

don't promise anything

Will re-read this drama tomorrow.   What a debacle.   with family like that, who needs enemies?

Sasha

Quote: Originally posted by Brock Lee on May 15, 2024

confucius say, if your dad sides with your baby mama over you, you are the problem.

i love the new detail that the prize was actually split between him and his current gf. if she has two braincells to rub together she'll ditch him and his endless baby mama drama. girl, take your half and run!

It doesn't make any sense for him to split the winnings by 50%. The tax implications would be horrendous for him, leaving him with less $$ than she would have, which would mean that she would have the financial upper hand,  yet daddy claims the son is trying to bully Sarah due to his unlimited resources. 

Either that's being incorrectly reported or it's a lie. If it's a lie, then what else is he lying about? 

Daddy claims he didn't want any of the things his son said he'd give him, if that's the case, why is he suing for not getting those things? Lie number 2.

DMarshal

Just because someone is blood, does not mean they are family.

EnReval

I only hv 1of my siblings that wld try this, we gamble at casino together but I nvr swap $$ at all

 

she plays poker and I do bingo n slots, I will drive her to an atty to file n laugh while she signing the papers

Sasha

So much to unpack, so many many questions 

1. Kinda hard to keep a massive windfall private when you suddenly have enough funds for round-the-clock security teams for you and your daughter.

Would love to know what the cover story for that was

2. It's been advised by CFAs not to use the principal to donate or give $$ away to family/friends. Only give money away from the interest. If John had taken that advice, it means that daddy shouldn't have expected to see anything for at least 6 months to a year. At a minimum. 

3. Daddy could have sided with Sarah without filing a separate lawsuit to force John to give him $$, which means it's about greed, not principle. 

4. Why would John give his EX half his winnings but not give his parents anything? He's so terrible, mean and controlling he split his money with her 50/50? No part of that makes sense.

5. Where's John's mother in this debacle?

6. If John hasn't gone for primary custody yet, then I'm not buying any of this. That's the 1st thing bitter, selfish, controlling people with resources do.

7. If Daddy's 1st reaction is to sue John for not splitting the win with him, then it makes complete sense why he'd made Sarah sign the NDA not to tell anyone, including his parents. That's the only part of the story that makes sense.

Brock Lee's avatarBrock Lee

Quote: Originally posted by Sasha on May 15, 2024

So much to unpack, so many many questions 

1. Kinda hard to keep a massive windfall private when you suddenly have enough funds for round-the-clock security teams for you and your daughter.

Would love to know what the cover story for that was

2. It's been advised by CFAs not to use the principal to donate or give $$ away to family/friends. Only give money away from the interest. If John had taken that advice, it means that daddy shouldn't have expected to see anything for at least 6 months to a year. At a minimum. 

3. Daddy could have sided with Sarah without filing a separate lawsuit to force John to give him $$, which means it's about greed, not principle. 

4. Why would John give his EX half his winnings but not give his parents anything? He's so terrible, mean and controlling he split his money with her 50/50? No part of that makes sense.

5. Where's John's mother in this debacle?

6. If John hasn't gone for primary custody yet, then I'm not buying any of this. That's the 1st thing bitter, selfish, controlling people with resources do.

7. If Daddy's 1st reaction is to sue John for not splitting the win with him, then it makes complete sense why he'd made Sarah sign the NDA not to tell anyone, including his parents. That's the only part of the story that makes sense.

he split the prize with a gf who isn't his baby mama.

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