A woman hit the jackpot in a huge lottery win, but things took a sour turn when the court ruled against her.
To add salt to the wound, she had to hand over her winnings to her ex-husband as part of their divorce proceedings, all because she kept her win a secret from him.
Ouch, that must have been tough!
We often hear stories of lottery winners spending their winnings on lavish lifestyles, but it's rare to hear about someone having to give it all away to someone they no longer want to be with.
Denise Rossi's lucky break came when she won the California lottery, but unfortunately, it happened just 11 days before she filed for divorce from her husband, Thomas Rossi, on December 28, 1996.
The couple had been married for 25 years, but unfortunately, the lottery win came at the worst possible moment.
When the case reached the court, a judge ruled that Ms. Rossi had broken disclosure laws regarding her assets and acted with fraud or malice.
Let's be honest, not disclosing $1.3 million to the court, especially right after winning the lottery, is a big deal.
In her court documents, she explained that she didn't want her husband "getting his hands on" her winnings, which is understandable.
It's easy to see where she was coming from.
Mr. Rossi only learned about the win nearly two years after their divorce when he received a letter from a company that offers lump-sum payments for lottery winnings.
The letter was addressed to his ex-wife and mentioned how the company had "helped hundreds of lottery winners like you around the country receive a lump-sum payment for the present value of their future annual lottery payments."
Mr. Rossi's attorney, Mark Lerner, shared, "I think he scratched his head for a while, saying: 'What? This can't be.'"
He quickly obtained an injunction and took his former wife to court.
The ruling stated that his ex-wife must pay him 20 annual installments of $66,800, although Ms. Rossi's attorney considered the ruling to be "very punitive."
Ms. Rossi and five of her co-workers won a $6.6 million prize, and the winnings were divided among them.
Connolly Oyler, her attorney, mentioned that if she had informed him about the win, he might have been able to assist her in retaining the winnings.
"I could have argued successfully that it was her separate property," he explained.
"Or we could have argued and we would have reached some adjustment."
"But the judge got mad and gave it all to him."