Gloria MacKenzie shot to fame when she won one of the biggest jackpots ever seen – a whopping $590 million. News headlines across the world first caught a glimpse of the lovely 84-year-old accompanied by her son as she came forward to claim her prize. Unfortunately, things have taken a turn for the worse…
What started out as a cute story about an elderly lady who won the lottery should be filled with heart-warming moments, right? Unfortunately, MacKenzie has now filed a suit alleging that her son and his financial advisor mismanaged her winnings since she won the Powerball jackpot in 2013.
Before winning the massive Powerball jackpot, Gloria MacKenzie from Zephyrhills, Florida, lived a modest life. She lived in a modest, grey duplex that she was renting at the time. It was small, out-dated, and located across from a cow pasture.
Like all Powerball lottery players, she too decided to buy a Powerball lottery ticket to give herself a chance of winning big. She stayed up late that night to wait for the Powerball results. In a statement to the press, she said that as soon as the numbers were drawn, before even looking at her ticket, she had a feeling that she has won.
As luck would have it, she was the only one to win the top prize of the extraordinarily high jackpot. The jackpot was so big that Ms MacKenzie ended up being the biggest single jackpot winner in US lottery history.
Immediately after realising that she had won the jackpot, she started contacting various lawyers and financial advisers, asking questions and filling out all of the necessary paperwork.
She took her time and it wasn't until June 5th, that she finally came forward to claim her prize, clasped tightly to her son's arm. She refused to answer any questions asked by the reporters that surrounded them.
As she was advised to take the Powerball jackpot prize in a lump sum, due to her age, she took home $371 million which amounted to $278 million after taxes.
She also agreed to split her Powerball prize with her son, Scott, as he was with her when she bought the ticket.
Once she had received her winnings, she moved out of her apartment in Zephyrhills and bought a $1.2 million home in a gated community in Jacksonville, FL close by to where her son lives.
Due to the fact that she had a passion for education, she donated $2 million to repair the roof of Schneck High School in East Millinocket, Maine. The school was dear to her as not only was she taught there, but her daughter also at the time of winning was teaching High School Science there as well.
Other than that, the Powerball lottery jackpot winner also set up the Gloria MacKenzie foundation. The organization provides educational opportunities for young and talented individuals.
Unfortunately, things started going downhill with a recent report this April that Gloria’s son had dealing in the mismanagement of her finances.
Now aged 90, Ms MacKenzie is suing her son and caregiver for the mismanagement of funds. She said that Scott allegedly used a financial advisor, who didn’t have enough knowledge of how to handle the money, contributing to losses exceeding 10 million dollars. At the time of her win, she made Scott the one person responsible for the management of the millions.
In a 40-page lawsuit filing, Gloria claimed that Scott MacKenzie and his financial advisor lived off her money without investing properly.
According to Gregory Anderson, Ms MacKenzie’s lawyer, Scott made bad investments after his mother injured herself in a fall. She claims that she wasn’t moved to a nursing home and that Scott began making decisions that were not in her favour.
She also claims that the money had been sitting in an account for years without gaining any valuable interest and that the financial advisor did nothing useful but charged a $2 million fee for his services.
According to Scott’s lawyer, he had already filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
They said that none of the accounts managed by Scott and by his financial advisor had lost money. They also claim that they followed Scott’s mother’s wishes that they take a conservative investment approach, which was bound to bring in much lower returns.
Scott’s lawyer said that she could not sue now that she’s unhappy with the return on investment.
Scott said he was deeply disappointed in his mother’s actions and that he hopes the justice system will see his side of the story.
After winning the jackpot
After winning the lottery and especially a really big jackpot, you’ll want to make sure you have a stellar team who can help you make the best decisions.
A lottery attorney will form part of the team that will help winners wade through the intricacies of claiming a prize without making any costly mistakes. A good lottery lawyer can help jackpot winners protect themselves, their families, and their hard-won cash.
As you will be in the position to be able to pay for the best service available, it would be wise to hire various types of attorneys (business, tax, trusts and estate).
By hiring a reputable attorney, he or she will source the others who will also guide you through the initial steps and who can introduce you to others as needed.
You will also want a certified public accountant and a financial advisor skilled in managing sudden wealth.
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