Woman who won $1.3 million jackpot lost all winnings after keeping lottery win secret from husband

a woman who won a life-changing lottery jackpot was compelled to give away her newfound wealth after a court ruled against her. The situation became even more agonizing as she was forced to hand over the winnings to her ex-husband as part of their divorce settlement, a decision that must have been particularly painful considering she had kept her lottery win a secret from him.

Denise Rossi, a California resident, struck luck when she won the lottery just 11 days before filing for divorce from her husband of 25 years, Thomas Rossi, on December 28, 1996. The timing could not have been worse for Denise, and her attempt to keep the windfall hidden from the court ultimately led to devastating consequences.

As the legal proceedings unfolded, a judge determined that Denise had violated laws regarding the disclosure of assets and funds, accusing her of acting with fraud or malice. Not informing the court about a staggering sum of $1.3 million undoubtedly raised concerns, especially given that the lottery win occurred during the divorce process.

Denise defended her actions in court documents, expressing her desire to prevent her ex-husband from gaining access to her winnings. While one can empathize with her sentiment, the lack of transparency about such a substantial amount of money had severe repercussions.

Remarkably, Mr. Rossi remained unaware of the lottery win until nearly two years after the divorce was finalized when he received a letter from a company specializing in paying lump sums for lottery winnings. The letter was addressed to his former wife, and upon reading its contents, he couldn’t believe what he was learning.

Immediately, Mr. Rossi obtained an injunction and took Denise back to court, seeking justice for the undisclosed winnings. Eventually, the court ruled in his favor, ordering Denise to pay him 20 annual installments of $66,800 as part of the divorce settlement. Understandably, Denise’s attorney saw the ruling as excessively punitive, given the circumstances.

The $6.6 million prize was initially shared between Denise Rossi and five of her co-workers, who had collectively won the lottery. Denise’s attorney, Connolly Oyler, expressed regret that he wasn’t informed of the lottery win earlier, as he believes he could have potentially argued that the winnings were her separate property or negotiated a different outcome. However, the judge’s frustration with Denise’s lack of disclosure seemed to have played a pivotal role in the final ruling, leading to the unfortunate outcome.

For Denise Rossi, the dream of a new and prosperous life was swiftly dashed, and the consequences of not being forthright during her divorce proceedings left her with a heart-wrenching burden to bear. The story serves as a cautionary tale of the importance of honesty and openness during legal processes, especially when life-changing amounts of money are involved.