NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) ─ Three New Bedford residents are involved in a legal tug-of-war over who’s the rightful owner of a winning lottery ticket worth $4 million.
Joao Luis DaPonte is suing Susana Gaspar saying she robbed him of his winnings. DaPonte is also suing Maria Oliveira, who claims she bought the $10 Gold Rush lottery ticket for Gaspar as a gift back in November.
The lawsuit states DaPonte asked Oliveira to cash his winning ticket for him. At the time, DaPonte — who only speaks Portuguese — believed he had won $4,000 and later learned he misinterpreted the winnings, according to the lawsuit.
Oliveira cashed the ticket for DaPonte and gave him roughly $3,000 in cash, the lawsuit says. DaPonte later learned Gaspar had won $4 million off of a $10 “Gold Rush” ticket, which she claimed was bought at the same cafe where he bought his.
The lawsuit says Gaspar cashed in the winning ticket and received a one-time payment of $2.6 million before taxes.
“At that point, a horrible feeling came over me, that I had been robbed of my winnings,” DaPonte said in the lawsuit.
Both Gaspar and Oliveira claim they do not know DaPonte. Oliveira also denies cashing DaPonte’s winning ticket for him or anyone.
DaPonte believes the two women conspired to dupe him out of his winnings.
According to MassLottery, the person who is in possession of the ticket at the time it is cashed is considered the owner of the ticket.
But the lawsuit states that DaPonte has a time-stamped photo of his winning ticket from the day he realized he’d won.
The $2.6 million payout Gaspar received will be placed in escrow until the case is settled.