A Classic Family Law Case
Dear Clients and Friends,
When you’re going through a divorce, one of the biggest fouls you can commit is trying to hide assets so you can keep them for yourself. It is generally easy to get caught, and one can be severely punished for not being truthful.
A classic example of this is the 1999 California divorce case of Denise and Thomas Rossi.
Denise Rossi, while contemplating divorce, won a $6,680,000 jackpot in the state lottery with several co-workers. Denise never told Thomas about the winnings, because she didn’t want to have to share them with him when they got divorced. Once the divorce proceedings began, she didn’t tell the court about them as well and she had the lottery check payments sent to her mother’s house.
Two years after the divorce was settled, a company that offers lump-sum payments for lottery winnings mailed an offer intended for Denise to her ex-husband’s address by mistake, saying it could help “lottery winners like you.”
Upon realizing what had happened, Thomas went to court, presumably hoping to get a fair share of the prize. To everyone’s surprise the court decided to punish Denise for not revealing the truth – and it ordered her to pay the entire amount of the lottery winnings to Thomas.
This case was appealed and upheld by The California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4.
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