The Australian Powerball winner accused of stealing his winning ticket from a syndicate made up of his co-workers has spoken out for the first time to deny the allegations.
Gary Baron, as we told you earlier this week, is being sued by 14 of his former workmates at Toll Group, a courier company in Geelong, Victoria, who say that the multi-million dollar Australian Powerball prize that he claimed was actually won by a syndicate ticket. However, Mr Baron has finally spoken out and said that while his co-workers did contribute towards 10 tickets that he bought for the syndicate in the same draw, the winning ticket was purchased solely by himself.
“I have never cheated my workmates and I am disappointed that the matter has become so public and that my name, family and home have become so widely publicised,” said Mr Baron in a statement through his lawyers. He claims that he purchased the syndicate’s Australian Powerball tickets for the draw last October and then purchased himself extra tickets, one of which included the same 23 numbers that he had been using ever since April 2014. This ticket, according to the controversial Powerball winner, is the one that hit the jackpot.
“The syndicate games were purchased on a different day, through a different medium and using the value of funds that syndicate had to purchase with,” the statement continued. Mr Baron added that Tattersalls, the Australian Lottery regulator, verified this information in their investigation before they released the Australian Powerball funds to him, and he said that he was shocked and confused when court proceedings were started against him.
“In hindsight, I should have explained the circumstances to syndicate members at the time,” he said of his decision to take the money quietly and quit his job at the company, but he also said that all he wants now is peace and quiet in order to get on with his life and enjoy time with his family. As the case gains interest, the Victorian Supreme Court has ordered Tattersalls to hand over all details and paperwork that they have relating to the Australian Powerball win and their subsequent investigation of Mr Baron.
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