ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Greed isn’t good.
That’s the message a New Jersey jury is sending after they found that Americo Lopes claimed a $38.5 million jackpot despite having been part of a lottery pool with co-workers.
Lopes was one of six co-workers who bought in on a million Mega-Millions lottery ticket. Five former friends and construction company co-workers took him to court after Lopes said he bought a personal ticket as well, which just so happened to win the Nov. 10, 2009 jackpot.
Lopes was ordered to pay each of his five co-workers $4 million each, CBS 2 reported.
On the witness stand, one member of the group was moved to tears. Candido Silva, Sr. told the court the group shared an “all for one and one for all mentality” and agreed that the winnings would be shared.
“I’d never think he’d do what he did,” said Silva.
The massive jackpot came on November 10, 2009. Shortly after that Lopes took a four-month leave for foot surgery. When he returned he quit on the spot and confirmed that he was a now a millionaire.
Silva told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey that the suit wasn’t about money, but satisfaction after being betrayed by a friend.
“We weren’t really looking for vindication, just a sense of satisfaction. Thats it,” he said, “we felt betrayed and we’re glad the jurors felt the same way.”
Initially Lopes’ co-workers were happy for him, that is until one of them looked up the day that he won. It was a day that each had contributed $2 for lottery tickets.
Lopes currently lives with his wife in a modest house with a cluttered backyard. It remains unclear if he has done anything with his fortune.
One of his co-workers plans on using the money to buy his granddaughter, who was just born Tuesday, a memorable present. Silva and his wife are planning to take their first vacation in seven years as a married couple.
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