Sisters sentenced after lotto win leads to bitter family feudA bitter end to a family feud over lottery money came on Sunday when a local court doled out a suspended sentence of one year in prison to two sisters who showed up for the first time in decades in their brother’s life to demand the money he won, even coercing their illiterate mother to stage a one-person rally that sparked outrage online.
The 58-year-old man won first place in a Lotto draw in July last year, winning 2.77 billion won ($2.45 million) after taxes. The man, a day laborer, was divorced, and his two sisters had not been in touch with him for about 20 years. His mother had helped raise his daughter and son.
The man bought a new, bigger apartment in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang, to live with his mother. But in a month, his two sisters, 57 and 49 years old, contacted him, demanding some of the money.
The sisters then made their 79-year-old mother stand in front of Yangsan City Hall on Aug. 5, 2016, with a picket sign that read, “I sue my depraved son for winning 4 billion won in the lottery but abandoning his mother, who raised his children. I am illiterate, please help me.”
The sisters had convinced their mother to stage the one-person rally without telling her what was written on the sign, but only that doing so would help her win lots of money, according to authorities.
The photo of the mother’s rally went viral online.
The man then tried to take his mother to his new apartment, but his sisters physically stopped him from doing so, he told authorities, so he decided to cut off all ties with the sisters, and stopped taking their calls and moved alone into his new apartment.
The sisters tracked him down to his new apartment. When he did not open the door, one sister’s husband called a key repair worker. The sisters, using some of the workers’ tools, broke into the apartment.
The man sued them last September for trespassing.
The Ulsan District Court on Sunday sentenced the two sisters to one year in prison, suspended for three years, and 200 hours volunteer work. The husband of one sister was sentenced to eight months in prison.
“The husband of one sister played a key role in this crime by calling in the key repair worker,” the court said. “Yet he has been denying his involvement by saying he wasn’t at the scene when the sisters broke in and has been showing no sign of regret for what he’s done.”
“The family has struggled economically for a long time, and this sudden win was not a lucky present for the family but a source of grief that turned one family member against another,” said a police officer in Yangsan who had taken charge of the case. “It is quite an unfortunate ending.”
BY LEE EUN-JI [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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