After a B.C. man allegedly took off with a $1M lotto prize, BCLC advises how you can protect yourself
A recent lawsuit launched against a Surrey man by four of his coworkers for allegedly making off with their shares of a $1-million lottery jackpot may have others wondering whether they’re protected.
The BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is now promoting a system that they say is the best way to ensure you’re not duped.
“Everyone should fill out a Group Play Agreement Form and make sure everyone has a copy,” Evan Kelly with the BCLC said.
The form can be downloaded from the corporation’s website, and it includes space for everyone in the group to fill out their names, addresses and the amounts of money they contributed to the ticket.
That form may have saved Ding Jiu Du, Haret Dagane, Elwood Prado and Tounkham Homsombath from having to file suit against Hung Sengsouvanh in B.C. Supreme Court last month.
The lawsuit alleged that Hung made off with the full $1-million prize despite the group agreeing in December 2018 to split the winnings five ways after each contributed $5 to the purchase of the ticket.
WATCH (Aired Dec. 3, 2014): Ted Chernecki reports on a lottery lawsuit among co-workers in Burnaby
Kelly couldn’t comment on the case, but said most jackpots are won by individuals or couples.
Disputes like this one are rare, he said.
The case against Hung isn’t the first to be launched between winners of lottery jackpots in the Lower Mainland.
In 2014, a lawsuit was launched by a Burnaby woman against Dalbir Sidhu, claiming she and other coworkers at a Shoppers Drug Mart went in with Sidhu on a lottery ticket that ended up winning more than $50 million, which Sidhu allegedly kept for himself.
That ended up being false, with the real winners being announced the following year.
And in 2005, a bizarre case saw nine coworkers of an A&W restaurant in Mission sued after four other coworkers came forward, claiming they were also part of the pool that won $14.5 million.
WATCH: From the archives: BCTV reports on the case brought by Mission A&W coworkers against the winners of a lotto jackpot in 2005
That case was later settled, with the four plaintiffs receiving substantially less than the $1 million each that they fought for.
Meanwhile, the store where the ticket was purchased became a destination for lotto fanatics across the country.
Kelly also offered several other tips the BCLC gives to groups who want to stay friends while going in on a ticket.
The most important tip, he said, was appointing a team captain to collect the money and buy the ticket.
“You want that team captain to put their name on [the ticket] and you want to put the words ‘in trust’ on the ticket,” Kelly said.
“That way when that person brings it to BCLC we know that a group is involved.”
The BCLC also recommends that team captains photocopy tickets and give a copy to each player so they can check the numbers for themselves.
Team captains are also advised to establish clear rules ahead of time if group members don’t participate in the draw, and to avoid writing the names of employers on the ticket, as they might want to claim a cut for themselves.
WATCH: (Aired Jan. 22, 2014) Grace Ke reports on a Maple Ridge realtor who launched a claim over a winning lottery ticket
It’s not clear whether Hung and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit took any of these actions, or even filled out a form. None of the people named in the lawsuit could be reached for comment.
The lawsuit appears to point to Hung as the group’s de facto captain, saying he collected the money and bought the winning ticket.
None of the allegations in the lawsuit against Hung have been proven in court, and a date has still not been set for a trial or hearing.
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