Jilted Baby Mama Gets Half of $100K Winning Lottery Ticket, Pennsylvania Court Rules
Posted on: October 14, 2020, 01:01h.
Last updated on: October 15, 2020, 09:15h.
A Pennsylvania court last week upheld a lower court’s ruling that a man must split the winnings from a $100,000 lottery ticket with a former girlfriend he spurned after claiming the prize.
In February 2018, Jeffrey Jones and Ruthann Colachino were trying to reconcile their relationship, from which they had a child, according to the Pennsylvania Superior Court documents. Jones just received a $5,501 tax refund, due mainly to claiming the son as a dependent, though he agreed to split the refund with Colachino.
Once the refund was deposited into Jones’ account, just after midnight on Feb. 22, 2018, the two decided to go to the Turkey Hill Minit Market in Carbondale and try their luck on some Pennsylvania Lottery scratch-offs. They waited until they got back to their residence to see what the tickets revealed, and that’s when Jones uncovered the $100,000 winning Bingo Squared ticket.
“The parties were understandably elated, and loudly professed their shared intention to use the money to leave public housing and buy a home together with the winnings,” the court document stated.
That same day, the two went to the Lottery’s office in Middletown, just outside of Harrisburg, to claim the prize. Eventually, Jones received a check for $72,930, after taxes were deducted from the prize.
From Making Up to Breaking Up
“Alas, the parties’ collective bliss did not last long,” the court document stated.
Jones broke up with Colachino about a week after the big win, and he neither bought a home or shared any of the proceeds with Colachino. That prompted her to take him to court.
In the Common Pleas Court case last year, Colachino had the convenience store clerk who sold the winning ticket testify, as well as her oldest child, a daughter from another relationship. The clerk stated that Jones and Colachino were frequent lottery players at the store and often bought tickets together. In addition, surveillance video from the night of the big win showed the couple walking in together, Jones walking up to Colachino at the counter to buy Pennsylvania Lottery tickets, and the two leaving together.
While Jones claimed the winning ticket was a separate purchase, Superior Court Judges Mary Jane Bowes, Judith Ference Olson, and John L. Musmanno said the record from the lower court case showed otherwise, especially noting that the two agreed to split the tax refund.
The mere fact that the parties engaged in separate purchases of lottery does not avail Mr. Jones because the certified record does not confirm that he actually purchased the winning ticket,” the court opinion stated.
Neither Jones nor Colachino could be reached for comment.
Similar Lottery Cases Taken to Court
The Pennsylvania Lottery case wasn’t the first time someone in a relationship tried to take the money and run. Others who have tried similar moves ended up losing in court as well.
Back in 2016, a Florida court ordered Lynn Poirier to pay her former boyfriend nearly $300,000 after she won a $1 million lottery prize back in 2007. However, she filed for bankruptcy after that ruling, and according to court records, Harold Browning ended up collecting just more than $23,700.
Last year, a Michigan appeals court ruled that a man who won an $80 million jackpot while in the middle of a protracted divorce from his wife had to share the winnings with her.
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