$111M Powerball Lotto Winners Sue for Interest

     (CN) – A couple who won a $111 million Powerball jackpot say they were cheated by a company that bought the rights to their annual payments. The couple, who never married and split up, say Peachtree Financial Solutions got a big tax refund and never paid them interest after delivering their share 3 months late.

     Leslie Robins and Colleen DeVries-Caliendo were engaged when they bought the winning lottery ticket in 1993. They lived in a one-bedroom apartment in the small city of Fond du Lac. Robins bought the ticket at a Sentry Foods store after DeVries-Caliendo gave him money to buy contact lens cleaner.
     The two never married. Robins eventually left his middle school teaching job and founded “Camp Winnegator,” a youth camp in the Fond du Lac area. He recently married for the second time since the big win.
     DeVries-Caliendo, who had worked as a nurse, also married and lives on a large estate in Washington County, Wisconsin.
     The Dane County Circuit Court declared each of them half-owner of the winning ticket. They say Peachtree representatives approached them in 2000, to buy rights to the remaining lottery payments. Each had 12 annual payments of more than $2.7 million remaining. They made identical purchase agreements and set up trusts.
     The PSF Trust 2000-2 challenged the appropriateness of federal and state income tax withholdings after it issued its first lump sum payment to each plaintiff of more than $15.5 million in December 2000.
     The next year the IRS refunded the federal payments, with interest, and the PSF Trust 2000-2 paid them more than $13.6 million. But when Wisconsin issued its refund of more than $4.3 million 4 years later, the PSF Trust 2000-2 did not pay them, according to the complaint. They say they did get those refunds, 3 months late, but PSF Trust 2000-2 refuses to pay them interest, claiming it has no legal obligation to do so.
     The plaintiffs also say they have been overcharged on an “annual guaranty fee.” They claim that fee was not to exceed 0.85 percent – Deutsche Bank charged the trust for a letter of credit used to guarantee payment.
     Robins and DeVries-Caliendo demand $1.1 million in interest on the refund from Wisconsin, and punitive damages. Defendants include Peachtree Settlement Funding, PSF Holdings, and PSF Trust 2000-2.
     The plaintiffs are represented by Dean Lain with O’Neil, Cannon & Hollman.

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