Lawsuit: 2 cheated man of $4 million in lottery winnings

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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man says two women cheated him out of $4 million in lottery winnings by taking advantage of his inability to read or speak English.

Joao Luis DaPonte filed a lawsuit this month against Maria Oliveira and Susana Gaspar in Bristol Superior Court over the ownership of a scratch-off lottery ticket. All three are from New Bedford.

Records indicate that DaPonte does not read or speak English and that the ticket said “$4MIL,” which translates to $4,000 in Portuguese.

DaPonte says in the lawsuit that he had Oliveira cash the ticket in, believing she had previously done the same for others in exchange for a percentage of the winnings, The Boston Globe reported.

DaPonte claims that Gaspar chose the lump sum option of $2.6 million, before taxes, and that Oliveira gave $3,800 in winnings to DaPonte. The remaining $1.6 million remains in escrow until the matter is resolved, records show.

Oliveira said she has “never cashed in lottery tickets for anyone,” according to an affidavit in which she denies receiving a lottery ticket from DaPonte and ever giving him $3,800.

A lawyer for Gaspar and Oliveira didn’t respond to a request for comment. DaPonte’s lawyer and a lottery spokesman declined to comment.

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