A Chinese man who won $1.2 million in the lottery attempted to hide the jackpot from his wife—partly by buying his ex-wife an apartment. The man won a huge amount (after taxes) in the lottery two years ago. But he never told his wife—instead continuing with life as if nothing had happened—and took elaborate steps to conceal the winnings from her. The attempt at subterfuge failed didn’t go over too well with a Chinese court. Read on to find out what happened.
Attempt to Hide Winnings Leads to Divorce
One day after the man, identified only as Zhou, saw the winnings deposited into his bank account, he transferred $290,000 to his older sister and about $100,000 to his ex-wife to help her buy an apartment, the Hangzhou Daily reported. When the man’s wife, Lin, discovered what he’d done, she filed for divorce.
Cover-Up Is Costly In Divorce Court
In the divorce proceedings, Lin asked a court in Wenzhou to divide the couple’s shared property equally. She then requested two-thirds of the $1.2 million Zhou had hidden from her. The court ruled that the money Zhou transferred to his sister and ex-wife was part of the couple’s shared property, and his efforts to conceal it qualified as embezzlement. Zhou was ordered to pay Lin two-thirds of the lottery winnings, as she’d requested. Neither party has appealed the ruling, the news outlet reported.
Another Winner Planned to Hide His Jackpot
It’s not the only recent case in China of a lottery jackpot being hidden from a partner. In October 2022, a man in southern China won $32 million in the lottery. But he told the media that he planned not to tell his wife and child so they wouldn’t become “conceited,” the South China Morning Post reported.
“I only won a few dozen yuan in the past. I regard buying the lottery as a hobby, and my family does not care,” the man said. “Plus, I do not spend much money on it, and the lottery provides a ray of hope for me.” He noted he planned to donate about $600,000 of the winnings to charity.
Lottery Curse is Widespread, Drove One Man From His Home
Considering the prevalence of the “lottery curse,” keeping a jackpot secret might be a winning strategy for some. Last September, an autorickshaw driver in India who won more than $3 million in the national lottery was chased out of his own home by relatives and strangers asking him for money, the UK Times reported.
“I went and stayed at my relative’s house, but somehow people found that place too and came there,” the man said. His mistake: India’s lottery allows winners to remain anonymous if they choose, but the man didn’t select that option when he bought his ticket.
Another Big Winner Urges Caution
Last November, as the MegaMillions lottery hit record amounts, a man who won $29 million in Powerball warned against believing a big prize can fix all your problems. Schultz said that after winning the jackpot in 1999, he found it hard to trust people.
“Most people were supportive and happy for me, but I did receive stacks of letters from people asking for money,” he said. “It was difficult to trust new people — that they didn’t want me for the wrong reasons. It felt like some people viewed me as a walking, talking ATM machine.” “Money doesn’t change who you are as a person,” he said. “If you were unhappy before, you might be unhappy after.”
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