Not being honest about winning the lottery can have some serious consequences. That doesn’t mean you’ll get in trouble for lying about choosing a lottery annuity settlement over a lottery lump sum payout — it means lying about getting any lottery payments at all!
Here are just a few crazy things that have happened to lottery winners after they lied about winning.
Getting Sued. – Americo Lopes was a construction worker who won the New Jersey lottery. Like many might do after winning the lottery, Lopes quit his job. Except, he didn’t tell his employer that he quit because he was stinking rich. He lied, and told them it was because he needed foot surgery. When his coworkers discovered the truth, they weren’t happy for him — they were furious. Five of them sued him for lying, and wound up getting some of his money.
Getting Murdered. – In 1991, Ibi Roncailoli won $5 million in the lottery, but lied about how she was spending it. When her husband, Joseph Roncailoli, found out what she’d done — that she’d given $2 million of her wealth to a child she secretly had with another man — he overdosed her with pain killers. Joseph was found guilty of manslaughter, and had to foot the bill for her funeral, too.
Getting It Taken. – Denise Rossi won $1.3 million in California’s lottery, and wanted to keep it all to herself. She neglected to tell her husband at the time about her new wealth, and asked for a divorce. Since it came so out of the blue, he suspected something had to be up, but agreed to the divorce anyways. Two years later, he got a letter that clued him into what was actually going on. He sued Denise for failing to disclose that she’d won the lottery, and the judge gave him every single penny of the winnings.
Honesty is the best policy. Whether it’s telling someone that you’re choosing the annuity option, or that you just plain old won, tell them.