$43 million Powerball win came after syndicate organiser changed process: court

Production supervisor Brendan King has taken his former colleague Robert Adams to court over the win.

Production supervisor Brendan King has taken his former colleague Robert Adams to court over the win.

Sydney factory worker Robert Adams says he organised hundreds, possibly thousands, of lotto syndicates involving his colleagues, sons and others over the years.

Although the first to admit his process was not flawless, Adams' regular procedure was to track payments from a core group of contributors in an exercise book while the one-off syndicates he ran were recorded on a piece of cardboard from his Liverpool workplace.

But there was one notable exception to the ordinary procedure - the time one of the syndicates he organised won the $A40 million ($NZ43 million) Powerball jackpot.

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Production supervisor Brendan King has taken his former colleague Adams to the NSW Supreme Court, claiming that he was a faithful member of the factory's lotto syndicate and is entitled to a cut of the winnings. His share would be $2.8 million. 

Adams argues, however, that the winning ticket was purchased by a separate, one-off 14-member syndicate of which King was not a part.

In a court hearing, Adams said he did not know why he had written the details of those who were party to the winning draw in the exercise book contrary to his normal procedures for one-off syndicates.

"Can I suggest to you the reason you did it was to try to get some more formal confirmation with Brendan who was not in the syndicate?," King's lawyer Lachlan Gyles SC put to Adams.

"No that's not true at all," Adams responded.

"One distinguishing feature between this draw and all the others is that you won $A40 million," Gyles said."

Adams said he believed he had first written the names of the one-off syndicate members on a piece of cardboard, and later transferred them into his exercise group before the life-changing draw.

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"The reason you then transferred this after the draw was to seek to establish some formality about the fact that Brendan had been excluded from the syndicate," Gyles put to him.

"I don't run every lotto the same way. I don't do every single thing exactly the same as I did last time," Adams told the court.

In his opening address on Monday, Gyles told the hearing that his client was a member of what he thought was the factory's only lotto syndicate and that he was the only regular contributor who was not part of the winning syndicate.

Gyles argued that after the win was discovered the winning employees "ringfenced" the syndicate to exclude King, although the normal procedure was that members were always presumed part of the lotto-buying group unless they opted out.

The court heard that for King, a father of five, to receive his cut of the winnings, 14 other syndicate members would have to sacrifice about $200,000 each.

Adams has told the court he was "very sorry" he did not have the opportunity to ask King to be part of the winning syndicate. 

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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