A North Carolina woman who won a massive $188 million Powerball jackpot lottery in 2015 is being sued by her currently incarcerated ex-fiancé for allegedly giving away gifts and other property she bought for him – with her own money.
Marie Holmes, then a 26-year-old mother of four, made headlines in 2015 as she became the largest jackpot winner in the state at the time. After scooping the jackpot, Holmes opted to go in for the lump sum of $127 million, though she eventually took home $88 million after tax deductions, WECT reported. She was dating her now incarcerated ex-fiancé, Lamar McDow, when she won the jackpot.
Months before Holmes became an overnight millionaire, McDow was facing legal woes as he had been arrested for allegedly trafficking heroin and was on bail awaiting trial. Though McDow violated his bail conditions many times after Holmes won the jackpot and landed back in jail on each occasion, his bond was always paid no matter the amount as his fiancée always stepped in. Holmes reportedly paid over $15 million in bond and spent around $600,000 in fees for the services of bail bondsmen. Aside from that, Holmes also showered McDow with gifts and also opened a business for him.
Per the lawsuit, McDow said he met Holmes when she was “working at McDonald’s and living with her mother and three kids in a single-wide mobile home,” WECT reported. The pair had two children while they were together. After Holmes won the jackpot, McDow – in the lawsuit – said Holmes bought him gifts including a $250,000 modified Chevrolet Stingray, clothes and jewelry amounting to $100,000, among others. McDow also stated Holmes opened a $600,000 auto restoration business for him. Though the business and vehicle are in Holmes’ name, McDow said Holmes bought them for him.
McDow received a seven-year prison sentence for his 2014 drug trafficking charges in 2016. Before beginning his prison term, he made Holmes his agent through a power of attorney, WECT reported. They were engaged at that time.
“Mr. McDow authorized Ms. Holmes to store, maintain, and protect his real and personal property during his incarceration,” the lawsuit alleged. While incarcerated, Holmes also gave birth to their second child.
The lawsuit stated they broke up in 2017 and subsequently grew distant, with McDow alleging he later got to know Holmes was romantically involved with another person through a friend. McDow also alleged Holmes gave away the gifts she purchased for him and closed down his business.
“Each unauthorized gift, conveyance, or transfer of Mr. McDow’s personal property was without his knowledge or consent and without consideration ceding to Mr. McDow… Ms. Holmes failed to act openly, fairly, and honestly by secretly giving away the items identified as Mr. McDow’s personal property,” the lawsuit stated.
McDow is seeking punitive damages as well as compensation from Holmes for giving away his supposed assets, according to WECT. “Ms. Holmes unconditional obligation to act in the best interests of Mr. McDow didn’t stop because Ms. Holmes and Mr. McDow’s relationship ended,” the complaint alleged.
Holmes and McDow had a publicly tumultuous relationship following her jackpot winning. In a 2016 interview with The Daily Mail, McDow defended Holmes repeatedly spending millions to bail him. The pair were engaged at the time.
“If I had that money then I would do the same for her,” he said. “People are just jealous because of how much she won, and people want to see me locked in jail.”
“She [Holmes] is standing by her man,” he added. McDow will reportedly be released in 2023.