Court Defeat for CT Man Who Hid Lotto From Ex

     (CN) – A Connecticut man who tried to keep his $1 million lottery jackpot winnings a secret from the wife he was divorcing lost his appeal for a protective order.
     Leo Rheaume filed divorce on Oct. 18, 2011, after 18 years of marriage to a woman named Rosalie, and learned that December that he won $1 million in the lottery.
     Since Rheaume had told the Connecticut Lottery Commission that he had agreed to split his prize with his sister and his son from a previous marriage, the commission cut each of them a check for $227,667, representing a third of the prize after taxes, in March 2012.
     Rheaume kept Rosalie in the dark about the jackpot until after picked up his check. When he told her that he had won $200,000 in the lottery, Rosalie filed a motion for contempt, claiming that his agreement to share the prize was an attempt to conceal or withhold marital property.
     The trial court in Hartford found that the entire $1 million lottery prize was a marital asset, judged Leo in contempt and ordered him to pay Rosalie $224,334, considering “the timing of the winnings along with the malfeasance of the plaintiff.”
     Rosalie did not receive payment, so the court approved an execution to have the money taken from Leo’s bank. He responded with a request from a protective order against any further bank executions.
     The trial court denied the order, ruling that nobody had exceeded his authority in conducting the bank execution.
     A three-judge appellate panel affirmed on April 28.
     “Our review of the record confirms that the plaintiff failed to allege that any party had engaged in an illegal form of collection,” Judge F. Herbert Gruendel wrote for the court.
     A protective order is not necessary to preserve Leo’s due process rights, the court found.
     “Because the plaintiff failed to submit the exemption claim form within 15 days, he waived his right to a hearing under the statute,” Gruendel wrote.

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