$188M Powerball jackpot winner in North Carolina sued by imprisoned former fiancé

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina woman who won a $188 million Powerball jackpot is being sued by her former fiancé over the disbursement of her winnings while he serves a prison sentence for drug trafficking.

Marie Holmes netted about $88 million after taking a lump-sum payment of $127 million and paying taxes following the February 2015 Powerball drawing. At the time of her windfall, Holmes was dating Lamar McDow, who claims in his lawsuit that she gave away more than $1.4 million in cars, clothes and property that were originally gifts she purchased for him, WECT reported.

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Specifically, the federal suit alleges that Holmes bought a $250,000 home with a portion of her winnings, and McDow claims the couple lived in the home together for about a year. The suit also lists a $250,000 modified Chevrolet Stingray, $100,000 worth of clothes and jewelry and a $600,000 auto restoration business that McDow claims Holmes purchased for him as gifts.

The titles for both the sports car and the business are in Holmes’ name, WECT reported.

According to the TV station, McDow had been arrested a few months prior to Holmes’ lottery win on heroin trafficking charges and violated his pretrial release agreement repeatedly, sending him back to jail on multiple occasions. Holmes, however, paid an estimated $600,000 to bail bondsmen during that time to keep McDow out of jail while he awaited trial.

By January 2016, the couple was engaged, but McDow was facing a seven-year sentence after being convicted on the trafficking charges, and he made her his agent through a power of attorney, WLVT reported.

“Mr. McDow authorized Ms. Holmes to store, maintain and protect his real and personal property during his incarceration,” the lawsuit states.

According to the suit, the couple ended their relationship in August 2017, and McDow claims Holmes gave away his clothes, sold his property and closed his auto restoration business in the months that followed.

“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 complaint reads.

In addition to the lost items, McDow is petitioning for punitive damages. He is scheduled to be released from prison in 2023, WVLT reported.