Man who won $80m on lottery while getting divorced must give half the cash to ex

A lottery winner who scooped $80million while getting divorced has been ordered to split the cash with his ex.

Rich Zelasko was told he must divide the Mega Millions jackpot with his estranged spouse Beth even though they’d been separated for two years when he won in 2013.

An appeal hearing concluded last week ruled that the huge windfall – $38.8million after tax – was part of the marital estate.

That meant Beth got to keep $15m of the winnings.

The court explained their ruling by saying that the ticket was unlikely to be the first Rich, of Pontiac in Michigan, had purchased during the marriage.

It added that as ‘losses throughout the marriage were incurred jointly, so should winnings be shared jointly.’

The ruling added: ‘It’s true that defendant spent $1 to purchase the winning lottery ticket, however the dollar spent was arguably marital money and, as such, a joint investment.’

Rich’s attorney had tried to argue that ‘Rich was lucky, but it was his luck, not Mary’s, that procured the lottery proceeds.’

After the initial ruling went against Rich, he appealed, with that attempt to keep the money for himself also failing.

Rich and Beth married in 2004, and have three children together. Their divorce was finalized in 2018.

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