When an Aussie truck driver struck it lucky, winning the Australian TattsLotto to the tune of $16.6 million, you’d think that in itself would be a big enough story. However, you would be quite mistaken.
Gary Baron, the erstwhile lotto winner, hit the tabloids for all the wrong reasons when he decided that it wouldn’t be in his best interests to share his good fortune with his mates. The mates in question being his co-workers and members of his local lottery syndicate.
When the news broke, it didn’t take long for local media to dub Baron as the “Lotto Rat” and now, it seems that justice has finally been served on the “Lotto Rat”. Baron has agreed to share what remains of the windfall with his former colleagues and Lotto syndicate partners, following his appearance in the Victorian Supreme Court earlier this month.
The story of Gary Baron’s deception spread like wildfire across the internet and local Australian tabloids. Gary Baron is a 50 year old truck driver by occupation as well being the former member of his local office lottery syndicate.
For anyone that is unfamiliar with a lottery syndicate, quite simply, a group of people pool their resources in an attempt to maximize their chances of winning the jackpot.
Baron was the designated lotto money collector and ticket buyer for his 15-strong lottery syndicate. It was his job to collect everyone’s $20 contribution and buy the weekly Tatts Lotto numbers. However, on this occasion, Baron claimed that he had bought the winning lotto ticket separately.
Baron won $16.6 million in 2014 and decided to keep it from his colleagues at the Toll courier company where he worked. Instead, Baron decided to quit his job and bought a convertible BMW M4 worth over $200,000 as well as a luxury home. Probably not the smartest move.
A few of his now former colleagues noticed his sudden surge in extravagance and even playfully asked if he had won the lotto but had not told them. Baron just shrugged and laughed, denying the questions completely.
However, in a perhaps cruel twist of fate, Gary Baron’s colleagues learnt the truth about the deception when Tatts Lotto sent him a bottle of champagne in recognition of his windfall. As luck would have it, Tatts Lotto used the same courier company that Baron had previously worked for and the cat was out of the proverbial bag. The unlucky bottle of champagne was delivered to Baron by one of his former lotto syndicate mates.
Members of his former lotto syndicate decided to take Baron to court to get what they believed was rightfully theirs. While Baron opted to settle out of court with some syndicate members, not all had been included which is what the latest Victoria Supreme Court verdict had finally settled on behalf of the remaining members of the duped syndicate.
However, the victory may yet prove to be bitter sweet. While the actual settlement amount has not been made public, speculation estimates that the remaining members are more than likely to get a lot less than the $1 million they were hoping for.