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$1.35B Mega Millions Winner Sues Ex for Blabbing About Win


Posted on: November 17, 2023, 10:38h. 

Last updated on: November 17, 2023, 10:38h.

Maine’s biggest lottery winner is suing his ex, potentially for hundreds of thousands of dollars, for telling his parents about his $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot win.

Mega Millions, Maine, lawsuit
Fred Cotreau, owner of Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon, Maine, which sold the winning ticket, celebrates outside his store in January 2023. The winner remains unknown –even, until recently, to his parents. (Image: Reuters)

The plaintiff, named in court documents as “John Doe,” accuses the mother of his daughter, “Sara Smith,” of breaking a non-disclosure agreement when she spilled the beans to his dad and stepmom about his newfound riches. Billionaire Doe wants at least $100K for every person she told.

The NDA had been put in place to “promote the safety and security of John Doe, defendant, and their daughter and to avoid the irreparable harm of allowing the media or public in general to discover” their identities and physical location, according to the lawsuit.

The winning ticket was purchased at Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon, Maine in January 2023. The draw, on Friday 13th, produced the fourth-largest lottery payout in US history.

Mystery Man

Unlike some states, Maine doesn’t permit lottery winners to remain anonymous, although a loophole allows claimants to shield their identity by collecting the prize via a limited liability company (LLC). John Doe claimed his windfall through an LLC called LaKoma Island Investments, according to the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.

He opted for a one-time pre-tax cash payment of $723,564,144, which would have worked out at about $404.1 million after state and federal taxes.

What we’re doing here in our small town – we’re keeping our eye out for an odd limousine,” Hometown owner Fred Cotreau joked to NECN shortly after the winning ticket was sold. “It’s not the prom season, so if we see a limousine in a driveway somewhere, we’re gonna go knockin’.”

 Which is exactly what John Doe fears.

Loose Lips

In return for signing the NDA and promising to keep schtum, Doe claims Smith was assured “support and ongoing security resources.”

But he argues Smith’s loose talk violated the agreement. As a result, “other third parties are now in possession of John Doe’s protected subject matter, including his sister.”

Doe wants an injunction barring Smith from disclosing any further information about the prize. He also the court to order her to list every person she told and pay compensatory damages of “an amount to be determined at trial, but no less than $100,000 per unauthorized disclosure.”

Despite his millions, he also wants “all reasonable attorney fees, expenses, and court costs incurred in the prosecution of this lawsuit.”


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