After he tried to scam his former colleagues out of a $16.6 Million Tatts Powerball win, former Toll courier driver Gary Baron became known as “the Lotto Rat.” Now Baron has finally come clean and settled with all 14 members of his syndicate.
Baron was the man charged with collecting the money and buying the tickets for the group of workmates at Toll’s North Geelong depot, south of Melbourne. But when in October 2014 they hit the big one, he decided not to mention it.
“I’m still in disbelief . . . I don’t need that amount of money, it’s too much for me,” Baron told Tatts, shortly after the win, adding that he wished to remain anonymous.
Spend, Spend, Spend
But in reality, Baron had no problem spending the money all by his lonesome. After quitting his job, he bought himself a new luxury home and a convertible BMW M4, as well as purchasing more property and cars for family members.
Those mugs back at the office would be none the wiser, he figured.
“You haven’t pulled off the Powerball and [not] told us or anything have you?” asked one ex-colleague, marveling at his friend’s sudden change in lifestyle.
“And he just goes ‘nah, nah’ and he just laughed and walked away,” his former friend recalled to the Nine Network’s A Current Affair.
“Congrats from Tatts”
Baron would have gotten away with it too, had it not been for lottery operator Tatts, which decided to send him a bottle of champagne, presumably with an accompanying note saying “Congratulations on Winning the Tatts Powerball Lottery.”
Unfortunately for Baron, but hilariously for everyone else, Tatts has an account with the Toll courier company. Thus, the gift arrived at his local depot and was delivered to his door by a former colleague.
Pretty damning evidence, but Baron still refused to admit to the deception, claiming that he had bought the ticket separately.
Shortly afterwards, two of his former colleagues, Gary Georgeson and Wayne Connor, went to Baron’s luxury home to confront him.
“He walked out dressed like Hugh Hefner in his terry towelling dressing gown,” complained Georgeson. “Driving around in a $200,000 black BMW sports car!”
The syndicate sued and, on Wednesday, Baron settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, just as the civil trial was about to get underway.
The plaintiffs wanted a million each, but it’s anyone’s guess how much is left in his bankroll after his leveraged post-Powerball lifestyle.