Huffpost Money

Americo Lopes' Lotto Spending Spree, Details Emerge

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AP
AP

Details emerged Friday that illustrate how Americo Lopes -- who was caught cheating his co-workers out of their fair share of a $38.5 million lotto jackpot -- planned to spend the millions he won in 2009.

Before his assets were frozen by a judge in March 2011, Lopes made a $145,000 down payment on a $1.5 million home in Boonton, N.J., according to legal papers obtained by the New York Post.

According to the Post:

Lopes’ dream house was a 5,000-square-footer that sits behind a circular driveway on a leafy cul-de-sac.

With four bedrooms, six baths and 5.24 acres of lush property, it’s essentially a fantasy home for a Real Housewife of New Jersey.

He signed a contract on the home, but the deal eventually fell through.

One of his greatest expenses was paying down a $378,000 mortgage, the Post reported.

Lopes did not share his $24 million in Lotto winnings with his coworkers, as was agreed in advance. However, he was generous with family members--doling out gifts to them that totaled $250,000, according to the Post. He also bought a $35,500 Chevy truck.

According to the Post, $5 million of his cash winnings are missing.

On Wednesday, a jury in state Superior Court in Elizabeth, N.J., ruled that Lopes had cheated his coworkers out of their fare share of the lottery winnings, after the five construction workers pooled their money to buy tickets. Fifty-two year-old Lopez had claimed he won the jackpot on a different ticket.

When Lopes realized he possessed a winning ticket, he elected to take his prize in cash, bringing his net winnings down to $24 million. He walked away with $17.43 million and change after taxes were deducted, according to the New York Times. Soon after scoring big he quit his job, telling his boss he needed foot surgery.

Lopes kept his winnings a secret, only later telling a co-worker he had won after leaving his job. His lie didn't hold up, though, after a man discovered when Lopes had actually won, which was posted on a Mega Millions website.

Wednesday's court decision awarded Lopes' five co-workers $4 million each.

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Filed by Emily Cohn