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Wednesday, May 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Friendship Ended by|$167 Million Jackpot

LOS ANGELES (CN) - It's so sad when $167 million comes between friends. A man claims that he and two co-workers agreed to buy lottery tickets together and share any winnings, but when they won a $166.5 million jackpot, the man with the winning ticket held out on them.

Sarun Hanbuntrong claims that he, defendant Kevyn Ogawa and nonparty Quan Ton agreed in August 2009 "to jointly purchase lottery tickets together."

He says they made the agreement at lunch, and since Hanbuntrong sprang for the lunch, "Quan purchased three lottery tickets for the group and distributed one to each member, with the expressed agreement that any winnings would be shared equally by the three. Ironically, defendant was the only friend who did not expend any money for the benefit of the others that day."

Ogawa got the winning ticket, Hanbuntrong says - one of two winners for a $333 million jackpot.

"However, with the ticket now in his possession, defendant apparently hatched a plan to deprive plaintiff and Quan of their share," Hanbuntrong says.

He claims that Ogawa invited him and Quan to an attorney's office, where "under duress and implied threats, and based on false promises, plaintiff signed a purported release agreement. The release agreement states there was an agreement to share the Lottery jackpot, but only provides that plaintiff will receive $1 million and otherwise purports to release defendant from any obligation or liability in connections with agreement to share the Lottery proceeds equally.

"The release agreement lacks consideration, was obtained via fraud and duress, is unconscionable and is voidable and unenforceable," the complaint states.

Hanbuntrong says that Ogawa "has received the Lottery Jackpot funds, and has failed to disburse plaintiff's share to him".

He seeks enforcement of their contract, rescission of the contract he signed under duress, and damages for fraud and breach of contract.

The complaint does not mention what became of Quan.

Hanbuntrong is represented by Brian Kabateck with Kabateck Brown & Kellner.

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