Four people claiming to be former co-workers of a B.C. lottery winner have launched a lawsuit trying to claim their share of the million-dollar prize.
The civil claim filed by Ding Jiu Du, Haret Dagane, Elwood Prado and Tounkham Homsombath in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver alleges that Hung Sengsouvanh collected money from them to buy the winning Lotto Max Maxmillions ticket, which was left over from a contribution to a Christmas potluck party at the Surrey lighting factory where they all worked.
Each worker, including Sengsouvanh, contributed $5 towards the $25 ticket, the lawsuit says, plus an additional dollar each for a chance to win an additional $10,000 prize. Sengsouvanh then volunteered to buy the ticket.
WATCH (Aired Dec. 3, 2014): Ted Chernecki reports on a lottery lawsuit among co-workers in Burnaby
That ticket, which was drawn two days later on Dec. 14, 2018, was one of several winners of $1 million. The plaintiffs claim they didn’t hear from Sengsouvanh over the weekend and only found out that their ticket had won through social media.
“The plaintiffs asked the defendant Hung (Sengsouvanh) to provide them their equal shares of the $1-million prize, which would be $200,000 per plaintiff,” the lawsuit, filed by Henderson and Lee Law Corporation on Feb. 14, says. “The defendant Hung has repeatedly refused to provide the plaintiffs with their equal shares of the prize.”
The lawsuit also names a John Doe as an additional defendant, who is described as a member or members of Sengsouvanh’s family, who have received some of the prize money, according to conversations between Sengsouvanh and the plaintiffs.
“This money should be traced and returned to the plaintiffs,” it continues, adding that anything the money was used to buy should also be owned by the plaintiffs.
Global News was unable to reach Sengsouvanh for comment. Calls to the number connected to a Surrey property listed as his in the lawsuit went unanswered.
In the news release from the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) announcing his win on Jan. 3, Sengsouvanh said he planned to use the money to travel back to his home country of Laos as well as pay off his debts and give some of the money to his children.
“I have a very tight family and lots of love in my house,” he said at the time. “Our family spends every weekend together so I want to make sure they are happy as well.
“Now I’m going to stop working, pay everything off and just enjoy life,” he added.
That appears to line up with what the lawsuit says Sengsouvanh told the plaintiffs, including desires to pay off his mortgage, buy a new car and travel while also quitting his job.
The lawsuit says Sengsouvanh specifically said he was planning a trip to Laos starting Feb. 17.
WATCH (Aired June 3, 2018): Kristen Robinson reports on a lottery winner who stayed anonymous
Sengsouvanh and his co-defendant(s) have not responded to the lawsuit, and a date for a trial or hearing has not yet been set to prove the allegations in court.
Global News has reached out to the BCLC and Henderson and Lee Law Corporation for comment on the case.
According to the rules listed on BCLC’s website, prizes can only be paid to the “rightful ticket holder or group trustee.”