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Gloria C. Mackenzie became the largest sole lottery winner in U.S. history in mid-2013 when the then 84-year-old took home about $278 million after taxes on a $590 million Powerball ticket she bought at a Zephyrhills Publix supermarket.
Five years later she sued her son Scott Mackenzie, who was her caretaker and the one who had “total control” over millions of dollars in winnings, saying he and his investment manager each lived off the money while poorly investing the proceeds, according to her lawsuit filed by attorney Gregory Anderson.
The 40-page lawsuit, which was revisited in court this week in Jacksonville, demands a judge and jury identify and preserve Gloria Mackenzie’s Powerball winnings, saying she suffered damages in excess of $10 million due to negligence, conspiracy to misrepresent and breach of fiduciary duty. It also says her son and his actions were not done in good faith, breaching his legal duties as power of attorney as well as receiving unjust enrichment and exploiting a vulnerable adult.
This deprived his mother of gains she should have earned that would have generated “tens of millions of dollars” after he hired a Jacksonville investment adviser who Anderson said wasn’t qualified to handle the account. While those investments “just sat there earning nothing,” Anderson said the investor overcharged for his services while the son never checked on any of it.
“You don’t have to know anything more than a branch manager at a bank to come back with some significant returns,” he said. “At the same time, he [the investment manager] was charging my lady, age 90 and in ill health, $2 million in fees.”
It’s not clear how much of her winnings she has left.
The initial lawsuit was dismissed Feb. 14, and an amended version was filed March 6. Tuesday in Jacksonville, Judge Virginia Norton heard a 20-page motion to dismiss the amended lawsuit, filed by attorneys Lee Wedekind III and Dell Chappell, representing Scott Mackenzie. Continue reading