From Riches to Rags: How Sherif Girgis Won the Lottery and Lost It (Nearly) All
Are you familiar with the name Serif Girgis? Does Sherif Girgis Oz Lotto ring a bell? If not, you’re in for a treat. Sit down, buckle up, and let us tell you an educational story. This one focuses on the part-time cinema worker that became a lottery millionaire and eventually lost nearly all of the money.
While the story is far from unique and dozens of lottery millionaires have blown through their fortune, the tale of Sherif Girgis is a visual illustration of how the mighty can fall.
In this instance, however, we’re not talking about impulsive purchases, drugs, and trips around the world.
Sherif Girgis decided to do the smart thing and invest the money he acquired through the lottery. Unfortunately, a very young Sherif chose the wrong advisor. This decision cost him a lot and certainly changed the course of his life.
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A New Lotto Millionaire Is Born
Sherif Girgis became the winner of Western Australia’s biggest ever lotto prize at the time – 30 million dollars from Oz Lotto.
Sherif Girgis was 23 and working as a part-time cinema worker in 2007. Little did he know that his life was about to turn around.
When he won, Sherif was intimidated by the sum, and at such a tender age, he didn’t know what to do with the money. He decided to seek help from someone a bit more seasoned. This was when Sherif got in touch with a real estate agent by the name of Russell Poliwka.
Poliwka was a reputable real estate professional, as well as the deputy mayor of Joondalup at the time. His company’s portfolio was worth over 160 million dollars at the time. With such a reputation, Poliwka was the obvious choice for the young millionaire who wanted to invest his new fortune in the best possible way.
Based on Poliwka’s suggestions, Sherif made several quite substantial purchases.
He acquired a nightclub for 2.65 million dollars, a pub, a luxury charter boat, and even a building featuring ocean views from the multiple apartments.
Once the properties were acquired, Sherif spent even more on improvements and fixes. According to media reports, he put more than 1.3 million dollars towards the transformation of the Perth pub. He also lost the windfall that he’d previously acquired.
According to a report by The West Australian, things started going south really fast. In 2012, Sherif was left with only five million dollars from the original sum that he’d won from Oz Lottery.
According to reports, some of the investment properties suggested by Poliwka were grossly overpriced at the time when Sherif Girgis acquired them. Sherif eventually started thinking that he’d trusted the wrong person (and he was entirely correct!).
Two years later, in 2014, Sherif Girgis decided to undertake legal action against his former investment mentor.
A Fortune Lost, a Court Battle
Sherif undertook legal action against the man tasked with the management of his fortune because he didn’t see returns. On the contrary- he was rapidly losing money.
As per the initial court entry, Sherif Girgis was asking for 3.44 million dollars from Russell Poliwka to overcome the losses stemming from the financial advice received in 2007 and beyond.
The legal battle was quite lengthy and complicated. This is why we have to skip a few years and move forward to the summer of 2019. This was when the Australian Supreme Court provided its final ruling in the Girgis vs. Poliwka case.
The court ordered Russell Poliwka to pay over million dollars to Sherif Girgis. According to Sherif’s legal representative, the young man followed all of the suggestions he’d received from Poliwka. He entrusted his fortune in the hands of the supposedly experienced real estate agent, only to lose millions. Mr. Poliwka’s representation was classified as both misleading and deceptive, which contributed to the court ordering substantial compensation to be paid.
It’s also interesting to point out that the court ruling also featured a sum of 50,000 dollars that Sherif Girgis owed to Russell Poliwka.
Yes, it’s a pretty complicated relationship and a fascinating story that’s still unfolding so many years after the initial partnership between the two men began!
Lottery Jackpot Mismanagement – Not an Isolated Incident
Sherif Girgis has gotten a little bit of justice, but the sum granted by the court is very far off the 30 million dollars that he previously won from the lottery.
Our unlucky Australian isn’t the only person who has had their funds mismanaged after winning the lottery.
Gloria MacKenzie from Florida sued her son for the mismanagement of her lottery funds.
Gloria won Powerball in 2013 when she was 84. The lucky occurrence made her 590 million dollars richer. The oldest lottery winner in the world (at that time) chose a lump sum payment of 370 million dollars. She set up the Gloria MacKenzie foundation – an organization funding education opportunities for underprivileged children.
In April 2019, the media reported that Gloria MacKenzie would be suing her son and caregiver for the mismanagement of her lottery millions. Scott MacKenzie and his financial advisor lived off the old lady’s money without actually investing anything.
As per court documents, Scott spent 1.2 million dollars on a large home, and he quickly started making bad investments. Allegedly, a large sum of money sat for five years in an investment account without accumulating any interest.
Gloria’s legal representative claims that Scott caused the loss of over 10 million dollars during the time he was managing the old lady’s funds.
It’s still too early, but we’re eager to find out whether Gloria is going to be as successful as Sherif Girgis was in court.
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