I won a $1.3 million lottery jackpot – but I was accused of cheating and lost all the money after I immediately divorced my husband

A LOTTERY winner has had her money withdrawn after it was revealed she hid it from her husband and the court during their divorce proceedings.

California resident Denise Rossi took home $1.3 million in December 1996 but kept her happiness a secret.

Denise Rossi lost all of her $1.3 million lottery winnings to her ex-husband after it was revealed she failed to disclose them in their divorce proceedings


Denise Rossi lost all of her $1.3 million lottery winnings to her ex-husband after it was revealed she failed to disclose them in their divorce proceedingsPhoto credit: Getty

Less than two weeks after winning, she abruptly served her husband Thomas Rossi with divorce papers while he was at work.

He was shocked when Thomas said he and his ex were so close they shared an electric toothbrush, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I couldn’t understand it,” Thomas told People.

“She wanted me to move out of the house very quickly. It wasn’t her way to behave like that.”

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It was two years before Thomas found out what had happened.

He got wind of Denise’s winnings when he intercepted a letter addressed to her at his new apartment in Los Angeles.

Thomas decided to sue his ex-wife and won.

Denise lost all of her winnings, and her ex-husband received an annual payment of $48,000 at her expense.

But the outcome could have been very different if Denise had disclosed everything back in 1996.

“Your failure to disclose this was fraud,” admitted Denise’s attorney, Connolly Oyler.

Had she been open about the winnings, she probably could have kept half of them, if not more, the attorney said.

“Moral of the story: It pays to be honest from the start,” Thomas’ attorney Marc Lerner said.

“Without the lottery, Denise and I would probably still be together,” Thomas said.

“Things have turned out for the best.”

But Denise said she tried for years to leave Thomas.

She said her ex, a photographer, was always “broke” and she was tired of working to support him.

“I was very happy to be free of this person who was like a parasite,” she said in an interview in 2000.


PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: paulleblanc@dailynationtoday.com.

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