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A winner of a huge Australian Powerball jackpot is being taken to court amongst claims from his former colleagues that he stole the syndicate’s winning ticket to claim it as his own.

Sixteen co-workers who work as couriers in Geelong, Victoria, claim that they formed a syndicate together with another colleague and entered the Australian Powerball draw in October of last year, with their ticket being one of the entries in the draw where three tickets split a $50 million jackpot. Gary Baron, 49, the syndicate member in charge of purchasing and looking after the tickets for the other members, called in sick to work on the day that the three Powerball winners were announced, and then resigned from his job with no notice the following week.

The group claim that Mr Baron collected the syindicate’s money and then used their ticket to claim the winnings for himself, disappearing so that he didn’t have to deal with splitting the money between them all. According to syndicate members, they first became suspicious when one of the members of their group was hired by Tattersalls, the regulators of the Australian Powerball lottery, to deliver a bottle of champagne to Mr Baron as a congratulatory gift for his win.

It is also claimed that since the win Mr Baron has purchased a number of properties in the state of Victoria for himself and for family members, as well as a BMW M4 worth AU$200,000. There will now be a challenge put forward to Mr Baron in the Supreme Court of Victoria by fourteen members of the syndicate, where they will claim that they have a right to their share of the Australian Powerball winnings.

The $50 million prize was won by one male player from Victoria, thought to be Mr Baron, as well as a couple from Melbourne and one man in Western Australia. At the time, the Victorian man expressed that he wished to remain anonymous and said that he was in disbelief and didn’t need so much money all to himself. It is thought that Mr Baron will claim that he purchased the winning Australian Powerball ticket as an extra just for himself.

This story is not unlike another incident that took place in Canada where a syndicate member was sued by his colleagues for having claimed a winning $50 million prize all to himself.

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