Mega Millions Nightmare: Billion-Dollar Lottery Winner Embroiled In Family Feuds And Legal Battles

Erik Gibbs

Updated on:

gavel money

A dream come true has turned into a nightmare for a billion-dollar lottery winner in Maine. The unidentified man, referred to in court documents only as John Doe, finds himself embroiled in a very public family feud that has torn his relationships apart.

Upon winning a $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot in January 2023, Doe chose to remain unidentified, a decision that is understandable given the magnitude of the prize. He also made the choice to take a lump-sum payment of $723,564,144 — approximately $500 million after taxes.

The big win quickly set off a contentious chain of events. The Daily Beast reports that Doe’s parents, residents of Portland, Maine, have severed ties with their son after accusing him of reneging on a verbal agreement to share his newfound wealth. Details remain murky, but court filings hint at a once-loving relationship crumbling under the pressure of immense fortune.

Doe claims he made a “mistake” by informing his father about the win without first securing a confidentiality agreement. He alleges that their relationship “deteriorated quickly thereafter,” hinting at unfulfilled expectations on the part of his parents.

Promises, promises

Doe’s father paints a picture of his son freely discussing lavish plans for their future using the lottery winnings. He claims Doe initiated these conversations, volunteering information about intended gifts, such as building a garage for his father and buying him cars to restore.

The declaration goes further, stating Doe expressed a desire to repurchase the childhood home he shared with his father and his biological mother (the father’s ex-wife). Doe supposedly offered to pay double the asking price. However, the document clarifies that Doe’s stepmother held no interest in returning to that particular house.

Doe allegedly promised to establish a $1 million trust fund specifically for their benefit. This trust, according to the declaration, would have generated a monthly income stream. Doe also supposedly pledged to use his winnings to ensure his parents received 24-hour in-home care if needed, eliminating the possibility of a nursing home.

These claims portray a son eager to share his fortune and improve his parents’ lives. However, it’s important to note that this is just one side of the story, and the validity of these promises hasn’t been confirmed. They’re also part of what’s causing the rift.

Doe’s father has stated that he told his son that he saw no benefit to the trust, for example. The relationship became so unstable that Doe even began using names like “dictator” to describe his father. The outcome was the father only being able to tell his son, “You are not the son I knew.”

The nightmare continues

Adding another layer of complexity, Doe is locked in a separate legal battle with Sara Smith, the mother of his child. According to court documents, Doe filed a lawsuit against Smith (also a fake name for protection) in November 2023. He accuses her of violating a non-disclosure agreement by revealing his billion-dollar win to his family.

The NDA, which Smith allegedly signed, stipulated that Doe’s windfall remain a secret until their daughter turns 18 in June 2032. This secrecy, Doe claims, was to protect their child from undue pressure and unwanted attention.

The lawsuit seeks “hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties” from Smith — relatively insignificant money compared to what he already pocketed from the lottery win.