Australia Powerball Winner Accused of Ripping off Colleagues

A man who won AU$16.6 million on Australian Powerball has been accused of ripping off workmates who were part of the same lottery syndicate. Gary Baron, a 49-year-old courier who was employed by Toll Logistics in Geelong, near Melbourne, was one of three first division winners in the draw on Thursday 16th October 2014 and promptly called in sick the next day before leaving work completely.

Australia Powerball Winner Accused of Ripping off Colleagues

The first his former workmates and 15 fellow syndicate members knew about his big win was when one was commissioned by lottery operator Tattslotto to deliver his celebratory champagne.

Although Baron was in charge of the syndicate, he insists that the windfall came from a separate ticket that he had bought for himself, even though he initially attempted to explain his newfound fortune by saying that he had received an inheritance. However, 14 of his colleagues fear that they have been cheated and are taking a case to the state’s Supreme Court this Thursday, with the hope of being granted a cut of the Powerball winnings. The other member of the syndicate is now alleged to be in a relationship with Baron and, as such, has dropped the legal claim.

Baron is said to have taken AU$20 from each syndicate member before entering the draw online, with the claimants now wanting full details on exactly how many tickets were bought and through which methods. The accused is said to have already splashed out on a luxury home worth AU$600,000, a AU$200,000 BMW and a property for his son, but has now gone into hiding ahead of the legal proceedings.

Anyone wishing to enter into a syndicate should ensure that they have an agreement signed by all parties before they purchase their tickets. The agreement should list the members of the syndicate, which lotteries it will play, how to distribute the winnings, what will happen if someone does not keep up with payments and, ideally, the numbers that will be played in the draw. As lottery winnings in Australia are only paid into one bank account, the agreement needs to be watertight to ensure that no one can run off with the group’s prize.

The next Australian Powerball draw takes place on Thursday 21st May and will offer a massive AU$50 million First Division prize. 

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Article Last Modified: Thursday, 22 October 2015 12:49:48+01:00
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