A Pennsylvania jury has decided that two estranged half
brothers must equally divide the winnings from a $1 million
lottery ticket after one of them claimed he deserved all the
money and the other insisted he was due half of it.
Ira Sharp, 52, and Charles Meehan, 45, both of Mechanicsburg,
Pennsylvania, had been fighting over the ticket since it was
purchased at a local bar on May 21, 2013. Sharp maintained
that he had given a $20 bill to Meehan to buy the ticket with
the understanding that they would split the money if they
It took barely an hour for the Cumberland County Court of
Common Pleas jury to decide that the two brothers did indeed
have a valid oral contract to split the winnings.
"Once they said 'yes' to that, the rest was easy," said R.
Mark Thomas, Sharp's lawyer.
Douglas Miller, Meehan's attorney, said both he and his
client were disappointed by the verdict.
"We know there wasn't a contract," Miller said.
"Unfortunately, the jury didn't believe that."
The brothers have not spoken to one another since Sharp filed
the lawsuit in the summer of 2013.
Miller doubted there would be an appeal, noting that Meehan
had initially wanted to give his brother some of the ticket
proceeds, just not the half he demanded.
Tax issues will complicate the division of the winnings, both
lawyers said. When Meehan cashed in the ticket on the morning
after buying it, the Pennsylvania Lottery automatically
deducted 25 percent for federal taxes, leaving $750,000.
Miller said Meehan subsequently paid $114,000 in additional
taxes, leaving $636,000. The remainder has been tied up by
court order since the summer of 2013.
Thomas wants his client to receive $500,000 of the remainder
and pay his own taxes on it. That would mean that Meehan
would have to petition the IRS to return some of the money
already paid, which Miller said is a complicated procedure.