Gary Baron's alleged glamorous life after his controversial lotto win

By Olivia Lambert

Gary Baron was just a humble truckie who organised a lotto syndicate for his workmates.

But when he was suddenly transformed into a millionaire overnight he disappeared and started living a secret life of luxury.

Mr Baron was a former Toll courier and in 2014 was in charge of collecting $20 from his workmates for a lotto syndicate in a A$50 million (NZ$52.5m) Powerball jackpot draw.

He won A$16.6m ($17.4m) and took off, and after a long-running fight with his workmates - that has lasted more than two years - the case has finally been settled.

Mr Baron worked at Toll's North Geelong depot but stopped showing up for work after he won the millions. He claims he won the money on a separate ticket he bought.

The day Mr Baron found out he won the money he called in sick to his job and then resigned.

He then started spending big, buying houses and fancy cars, including a BMW M4 convertible worth almost A$200,000 ($210,138).

One of the 16 workers in the syndicate was Janette McConnell, who was also Mr Baron's girlfriend.

She bragged on social media about the luxury lifestyle and even posted a selfie of herself in the passenger seat with windblown hair on Facebook. She captioned it "team bad boy Baron".

The extravagant car wasn't his only splurge either. Mr Baron bought a new home in Lara, for more than A$600,000 ($630,415) and bought his two kids a house and a car.

Gary Baron, accused of keeping his syndicate's lotto winnings and Janette McConnell, who is believed to be the girlfriend of Geelong lotto winner Gary Baron. Photos / Facebook, Channel 7
Gary Baron, accused of keeping his syndicate's lotto winnings and Janette McConnell, who is believed to be the girlfriend of Geelong lotto winner Gary Baron. Photos / Facebook, Channel 7

After winning the millions, he lied to his workmates and said it was inheritance.

Just days after Mr Baron won his prize, Tattersalls released a statement about a Victorian man who won A$16.6m ($17.4m) in a A$50m ($63m) Powerball, who wanted to remain anonymous.

"I'm still in disbelief ... I don't need that amount of money, it's too much for me," the prize winner told a Tatts official.

"I'm going to share the prize money with my family. I'll make sure it doesn't change who I am but I'll definitely be able to live a better lifestyle, with a few more toys.

"I love being out on the water so I'll buy myself a boat and a jet ski, and my kids have been wanting the new iPhone 6 so they can have that now and I might spoil them each with a new car."

Mr Baron's workmates expected if they won, they would all get a slice of the pie and they became suspicious and approached Mr Baron about his lotto win and decided to sue him.

Mr Baron released a statement seven months after his win and said he won the lotto off a ticket he brought with A$46.60 ($48.9) of his own money.

Fairfax Media reported Mr Baron did that just days before spending $520 ($546.36) on 10 tickets for the syndicate. He used the same account to purchase the syndicate ticket and his own.

Mr Baron is understood to have since purchased a number of properties for himself and a family member, as well as a A$200,000 convertible BMW M4. Photo / Supplied
Mr Baron is understood to have since purchased a number of properties for himself and a family member, as well as a A$200,000 convertible BMW M4. Photo / Supplied

"The syndicate games were completely unrelated to my personal favourites game which was the successful ticket," he said.

Mr Baron did not tell his workmates what had happened but he said in hindsight he should have explained.

"I never cheated my workmates and I am disappointed that the matter has become so public and that my name, family and home have become so widely publicised," he said.

Around the time Mr Baron made his statement, two of his former colleagues, Gary Georgeson and Wayne Connor went to Mr Baron's house to confront him.

"He walked out dressed like Hugh Hefner in his terry towelling dressing gown. Driving around in a A$200,000 ($210,038) black BMW sports car," Mr Georgeson told A Current Affair.

Mr Baron's past life would have seen him working 12-hour days for around $18 an hour, so the two men said the money could have boosted their lives as well.

"Someone is living the dream. At the moment, we are living a nightmare," one of the men said.

Mr Georgeson told A Current Affair he asked Mr Baron if he had won the money.

"I asked him if he'd won A$16.6m ($17.4m) and he stood there and looked me in the eye and said, 'yes, I did'. I asked him why straight out he didn't just come and tell us," he said.

"We all worked together and trusted ya. If you could've proved it I would've just shaken your hand.

"It's not hard. All he had to do was open his online account on his computer, punch it in and bring up the history and say this is what I did. He would not do that. He said, 'once I prove it, I will buy you a beer'.

The long-running battle between 14 of the 16 colleagues and Mr Baron finally ended on Wednesday, the same day the civil trial on the issue began.

The group suing Mr Baron advised the court the case had been resolved. It's unclear what kind of agreement the parties reached, but they will return to court on Thursday for final orders.

- with AAP

- news.com.au

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