A pizza delivery driver is suing his friends who won a $1 million lottery prize believing he deserves a cut of their winnings.
Last June, Philip Tsotsos’ group of 16 friends won a $1-million Maxmillion prize on a Lotto Max ticket. He’s now suing them for $70,000 plus interest, believing he’s entitled to a slice of their winnings and accusing his friends of “stealing his dreams.”
“Their dreams came true. Why should they steal mine?” he told CBC News.
A lawyer of the 16 defendants claims Tsotsos didn’t contribute to the pool for the prize ticket, therefore he has no claim for a cut of the prize.
“Mr. Tsotsos did not pay to play, so we deny that he is entitled to any of the relief that he is seeking, and we’ll be vigorously defending the claim. In this instance, he did not play and he was not included,” attorney David Robins told CBC.
Even though Tsotsos wasn’t technically a part of paying for the ticket, he still wants to be considered the 17th winning ticket holder. He claims he was in on the pool and has text messages to prove it.
He said even after leaving his job at an auto-parts delivery company a little while before their win, he was included in the lottery pool with his former co-workers.
While the pool was put on hold during the pandemic, their gaming resumed back in March 2021 and Tsotsos was asked in June if he wanted to be a part of a “major.”
Since the tickets worked on an opt-out basis, he often didn’t pay for the tickets right away. However he said he always paid back what he owed, sometimes owing up to $100.
The group’s organizer, Steven Todesco, texted him around the time they won the Lotto Max, that he owed a tab of $30 plus another $10 to remain a part of the group. Tsotsos said he made plans to pay the $40 by Friday of that week and even jokingly said, “Just take it out of our winnings when we win.”
In October, he was devastated to find out via social media that his former colleagues had won the lottery and he was not included.
“Why wouldn’t they tell me they won?” he said to CBC. “These guys are like family to me… that hurt more than anything.”
Split between the 16 members, each individual received $62,500 of the winnings. Had the group divided the winnings between 17 people to include Tsotsos, they each would have taken home $58,000.
Tsotsos said, “This is all over a difference of $4,500.”