• Thu. May 18th, 2023

US lottery winner Timothy Schultz almost loses $60m jackpot

A lucky lotto winner who thought he would be taking home $60 million almost had the life-changing fortune ripped from his grasp when an underage co-worker made a claim to it.

Powerball winner Timothy Schultz was working as a petrol station attendant in the American Midwest when his lucky numbers came up in 1999.

At 21 years old, he was just over the legal age to purchase a lotto ticket in the US and had sold himself the $1 winner while working alongside colleague Sarah Elder, 20.

The then-college student’s $29 million (USD) ($A58 million) jackpot win was put at risk, though, when Ms Elder claimed she had contributed 50c to the ticket and was entitled to a share, according to reports at the time.

Ms Elder’s claim challenged the validity of the whole prize, as she wasn’t legally of age to buy a ticket.

Lottery officials were unsure whether to consider Ms Elder’s contribution a “purchase by an underage person, a gift or a loan”, and so the pair were set to battle it out in court.

“If part of the sale were to an underage person, all or a portion of the prize would be forfeited,” Lottery commissioner Ed Stanek said at the time.

Luckily for Mr Schultz, Ms Elder withdrew her claim just one day before a scheduled court hearing.

An agreement between the two colleagues was not made public.

Mr Schultz now hosts a podcast and YouTube channel in which he shares advice and insight about winning big.

He says one of the biggest mistakes lottery winners make is not seeking support from financial experts.

“The average lottery winner that comes across millions of dollars … the average person does not know what to do with that kind of money unless you have an education or a background or experience dealing with that kind of money,” he told CNN last year.

“I had no idea. I was a gas station clerk at 21 years old when I won.”

Mr Schultz said he was often asked whether such life-changing money could buy happiness.

“The general consensus is that money can buy time and time is sort of invaluable, if you have the stress of debt and you’re doing something you don’t want to be doing … which can in a sense buy happiness,” he said.

But money does not necessarily fix all problems, he added.

“If you are a very unhappy person before you win the lottery and you come across mass amounts of wealth, after the high of winning wears off — because it will come down — then you still could be unhappy,” Mr Schultz said.

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