Imagine winning the lottery and becoming a millionaire overnight. That’s what happened to Denise Rossi, a woman in the US who won N1.5 billion ($US1,336,000 11) in the California State Lottery in 2023.
But instead of celebrating with her husband of 25 years, Thomas Rossi, she decided to hide the money from him and file for divorce 11 days later.
She hoped to keep the jackpot for herself and receive N25 million ($US66,800) yearly for 20 years.
However, her plan backfired when a letter from a company that paid lottery winners was accidentally sent to Thomas’s apartment two years after their divorce.
Thomas was shocked to discover that his ex-wife had won the lottery and had not told him or the court about it.
He felt betrayed and cheated by her dishonesty and sued her for violating the state’s asset disclosure laws and acting fraudulently and maliciously.
The case went to a Los Angeles family court, where a judge ruled in favor of Thomas three years later.
The judge found that Denise had broken the law by concealing her winnings during the divorce proceedings and that she had acted out of fraud and malice.
The judge awarded all of her lottery prizes to her ex-husband, leaving her with nothing. According to Thomas’s lawyer, Denise could have kept half of the money if she had been honest from the start and disclosed the win.
The moral of the story is: honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to money and marriage. As Lerner, Thomas’s lawyer, said: “It pays to be honest from the beginning.”