Money

Group Wins Lottery, Excludes Woman Who Didn't Pay $1

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Eight employees at a retirement community in Florida have been playing the lottery together for years. Each person chips in a dollar for the ticket. Last week the impossible happened -- the group had the winning numbers, winning $16 million.

But one woman forgot to give her usual dollar, and the others are now trying to prevent her from sharing the prize.

Jeanette French, 72, had been a member of the group for eight years. She said it is not unusual for members not to be around to put in their dollar. When that happens, someone else would cover it for them, and they would repay it.

Her lawyer said that's just what happened last week. "She had communication with one of the other employees who said he would put in a dollar for her," said Tom Culmo. "Employees would routinely cover for each other. She paid back the dollar Thursday morning."

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Culmo said French was so trusted, she was given the job of checking the ticket to see if they had won. "After she realized the group won, she gave back the ticket. She wasn't worried if she handed back the ticket she wouldn't be part of the group."

But now the others are trying to exclude French. Culmo was able to convince a judge to stop the Florida State Lottery from paying out the winnings until the matter can be settled.

Each winner would get $1.3 million before taxes if French is not included, $1.1 million each if she is.