A former courier turned multi-millionaire on the Australian Powerball has gone into hiding after members of his lottery syndicate accused him of not distributing the winnings.
Gary Baron entered a weekly lottery syndicate with colleagues at Toll Group in the Australian city of Geelong but he it is alleged that called into work sick the day he discovered he had won a stake in the $50 million Powerball jackpot in October. He then resigned from his job the following week without returning to work.
It has been reported that the 49-year-old moved out his dilapidated three-bedroom home in the suburb of Lara. He then moved into a luxury two-story home a month after claiming the winnings and leaving his job.
Other post-winning purchases of Mr. Baron include a convertible BMW M4 and a house for his son. A swimming pool was also recently installed at his son’s property.
The group is now planning to take Supreme Court action against Mr. Baron. They became suspicious when a syndicate member and courier at Toll Group was hired by Tattersalls to deliver a bottle of champagne to him to congratulate him on his win….. oh-oh.
Mr. Baron has reportedly claimed that he won a stake in the $50 million jackpot with a separate ticket he bought alongside the one he purchased for the syndicate, which means the syndicate is not entitled to any of his winnings.
He collected $20 from each of the syndicate members and entered the Powerball draw online via an online Tattersalls Group account. The group has been entering the lottery regularly since 2009.
Peculiarly, Mr. Baron repeatedly denied winning the jackpot to his fellow syndicate members and allegedly told one of them that his new found riches came as a result of a significant sum of inheritance.
The other fourteen members of the lottery syndicate plan to challenge Mr. Baron in the Supreme Court of Victoria where they will claim they have a right to an equal share of the winnings.
The $50 million Powerball jackpot drawn in October was split between 3 winners. Mr. Baron as well as a Melbourne couple and a West Australian man.
The group of colleagues, who regularly bought Tattslotto tickets but only played Powerball when there was a major jackpot, want details of how many tickets the man bought and the method of payment.
It is anticipated that Mr. Baron will argue he bought the winning ticket separately to the group ticket and therefore nobody from the group is entitled to any of his winnings.
….Well not exactly nobody as one of the members of the lottery syndicate is reported to now be in a relationship with Mr Baron and no longer wants to be involved in the legal challenge.
A day after the draw in October Mr Baron, told Tattersalls he planned to share his fortune and wanted to remain anonymous.
“I’m still in disbelief… I don’t need that amount of money, it’s too much for me,’ he said.
“I’m going to share the prize money with my family. I’ll make sure it doesn’t change who I am but I’ll definitely be able to live a better lifestyle.
“I’ll buy myself a boat and a jet ski and my kids have been wanting the new iPhone 6 so they can have that now, and I might spoil them each with a new car.”
What would you do in this situation? Would you share some of your winnings with your lottery syndicate even if the winning ticket was one you bought with your own money?