The story of a cute old lady winning the lottery later on in life should be charming and heart-warming, right? Unfortunately, real life has the power to taint even the most positive of stories. The Gloria MacKenzie lottery jackpot story is one example of a real-world fairytale gone wrong.
If you’re from Florida, you’ve probably heard about Gloria MacKenzie – a lady who won 590 million dollars from Powerball in 2013 when she was 84. This accomplishment made her the second oldest lottery millionaire in the world. Only one person came ahead of her – Nguyen Van Het who won the lottery at the age of 97.
Gloria’s 590 million dollars should have paved the path for a life of happiness and worry-free existence. This isn’t precisely what happened. Eventually, the money contributed to family trouble that got so bad; it eventually ended in court.
A Fairytale in the Making: Gloria Wins the Lottery
Gloria MacKenzie from Zephyrhills, Florida, lived a modest life. She was a mill worker, and she had limited financial means to give her life necessities.
Eventually, Gloria decided to buy a Powerball ticket. She was the only one to have all of the numbers correct for the respective drawing, entitled her to the jackpot. At the time, Gloria became the person to be the biggest single jackpot winner in US lottery history.
In the aftermath of winning, Gloria didn’t do a press conference, but she released a public statement to quench some of the thirsty curiosity. She refused annuity payments and instead went for a cash lump sum payment of 370 million dollars.
Gloria also set up the Gloria MacKenzie foundation – an organization that aims to provide educational opportunities to young and talented individuals. It’s reported that Gloria MacKenzie’s donation project benefited from a cash injection of two million dollars after our charitable old lady became a millionaire.
All of this sounds great, but eventually, things started going downhills. The story became darker through the involvement of Gloria’s son in the management of the finances.
Mother and Son at War
In April 2019, media released reports that Gloria MacKenzie (already aged 90) is suing her son and caregiver for the mismanagement of funds won through the lottery.
Scott MacKenzie allegedly used a financial advisor to mismanage his mother’s funds, contributing to losses exceeding 10 million dollars.
Gloria made Scott McKenzie the one person responsible for the management of the millions. Scott took control but five years later, Gloria got pissed, and she turned to the court. In a 40-page lawsuit filing, Gloria claimed that Scott MacKenzie and his financial advisor lived off her money without investing properly.
Allegedly, Scott spent 1.2 million dollars on a five-bedroom home. Initially, he moved in the new estate with his mom. Eventually, however, Gloria was relocated to a new location in Pennsylvania. No information has been provided as to why the move was needed.
According to Gloria’s lawyer Gregory Anderson, Scott started making bad investments after his mother injured herself in a fall. She wasn’t moved to a nursing home, and at that time, Scott began making decisions that weren’t in her favor.
Also, Scott MacKenzie’s financial advisor Hank Madden is being sued for taking advantage of the senior woman. The court filing alleges that the money sat in an account for years without winning anything. Hank, however, charged a two-million-dollar fee for his services.
Anderson said that the money in the investment account set up by Hank Madden was earning between 0.02 and 0.08 percent, which is practically nothing in the finance world.
Gloria had to split her money with MacKenzie Scott because he helped her buy the lottery ticket. Eventually, Scott was the one who suggested his mother use the services of Hank Madden for financial management and better investment control.
So far, Hank Madden has not made a media statement about the allegations or his involvement in the case.
A Son Fights Back
Scott MacKenzie has been a bit more vocal than the financial advisor about the media scandal.
Scott’s lawyer has already filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. According to the counterclaim, none of the accounts managed by Scott and by his financial advisor have lost money. Besides, the lawyer revealed that Gloria was the one that insisted on a conservative investment approach, which was bound to bring in much lower returns than aggressive investing.
Gloria cannot just sue because she’s unhappy with the return on investment, the counterclaim read.
Scott MacKenzie made a statement that he was deeply disappointed in his mother’s actions. Scott also said that he believes in the justice system and that he hopes the court will eventually see his side of the story.
“Although he strongly disagrees with the allegations that have been made, he will respect his family’s privacy by reserving any further comments until the case has been concluded,”
Scott’s attorney said in a media statement.
It’s up to the court to determine whether the lawsuit will go forward. If it does, Scott MacKenzie and Hank Madden face charges of breaching fiduciary duty, negligence, and exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
Lessons to Be Learned
It’s still too early to tell how Gloria MacKenzie’s story will unfold. One thing is sure – a person has to be careful about the selection of financial advisors.
Even if Scott and his financial advisor didn’t mismanage Gloria’s funds, they still weren’t capable of giving her the outcome that she was hoping for. The result is a broken family and a court drama that’s bound to continue for more time.
Big money changes people, which is why so many have suffered and even lost the lives that they loved in the aftermath of becoming lottery millionaires. Gloria and Scott can still make amends if they manage to put the financial issues aside and focus on their family.
Practice and real-life examples; however, do not paint that much of an optimistic story when it comes to serious money management and greed.