N.J. Construction Workers Sue Colleague For Share Of $38.5 Million Lottery Prize

Americo Lopes jackpot winnerA trial in Union County, N.J., is pitting five construction workers against their former colleague in what the group says was the man's attempt to deceive them of their share of nearly $40 million in lottery winnings.

The five workers sued their colleague, Americo Lopes (pictured, left, with his wife, Margarida), after he won the Mega Millions jackpot in November 2009. They allege Lopes collected $2 from each man to buy 12 tickets, a custom the group had established, the day before the drawing, according to a report in The Star-Ledger of Newark. But, they say, Lopes said nothing to them about winning and then made off with the winnings.

Eric Kahn, an attorney representing the workers, told jurors during an opening statement at the trial Tuesday that the case was about "trust and personal responsibility."

Kahn noted that Lopes left work two days after winning the lottery, telling his boss he needed to have foot surgery, but told no one about winning the lottery. He also filed for unemployment, as is typical for construction workers during the off-season, the Star-Ledger notes.

"A man claims a $24 million lottery prize, doesn't tell anyone, and applies for unemployment," the newspaper quotes Kahn as saying to the jury. "He did that so everyone would believe nothing was different."

For his part, Lopes contends he played the lottery both for himself and as a member of the pool. He claims the winning ticket was one he bought for himself, despite it being one of 12 purchased, the same number the group routinely bought. Lopes wound up collecting $24 million, since he elected to take a lump-sum payout.

Lopes' attorney, Michael Mezzacca, told jurors that his client's actions after realizing he held a winning ticket don't indicate that he sought to deceive the others.

"The fact that he concealed that he won doesn't mean he took the money," Mezzacca told the court.

Should the jury find in favor of the five plaintiffs, they will be awarded $4 million each, or a sixth of the $24 million prize Lopes collected.

Next: N.J. Worker Continues To Draw Paycheck Despite Being Jailed For DWI

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The good Lord giveth, and the good Lord taketh away!! Hope his lawyer gets all his share. What goes around always comes around.

December 20 2012 at 2:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

he probably needed it all for the work his wife needs...what an oinker

December 15 2012 at 6:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

send his ass back to mexico and give his share to the others for being a total douche bag!

December 15 2012 at 6:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


December 15 2012 at 6:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a dirtbag!

March 17 2012 at 9:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tino Valentino

...that is why you always make photo copies of all the tickets. we do that in our group.

March 16 2012 at 7:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow! How low can you go???!!!
Lets hope the jurors see the light and make good to all the other co-workers!
What a scumbag he and his wife are!

March 15 2012 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt Froehlich

If someone jacked $4 mil from me, I'd kill them.

March 13 2012 at 3:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Matt Froehlich's comment

lol, typical steelers fan.

February 28 2013 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All I can say is that these two need all that money to keep them fed well. Pigs.

March 11 2012 at 8:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would comment but Big Brother will tell me I violated TOS again for some stupid reason and want to sh*tcan me from aohell. so I don't comment much anymore and NEVER with that RAG called the Huffington Post that aol loves to use and they are worse than Obomma and he is really bad at everything, I think he oughta just go back to his home land in Kenya and rule them idiots, he isn't doing "we the people" in the USA anyway, Any one have an extra koran I can burn?? OH BTW, I don't do Facebook either, they suck worse than a Hoover!

March 11 2012 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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