$30m Lotto Winner from Perth Losses Entire Fortune on Bad Investments – But That’s Just the Start!

Sherif Girgis hit the headlines back in 2007 when he scooped what was Western Australia’s biggest lotto prize of AU$30 million. At the time, the 23-year old took the advice of a trusted real estate agent and placed his winnings into a series of investments, all of which have gone less than expected, resulting in him losing the equivalent to £17 million.

Mr Poliwka is the City of Joondalup deputy mayor and was a prominent real estate agent used to managing a fortune, so naturally, Sherif was only too happy to take his advice, advice which he wishes he had never taken. After meeting the real estate agent at the 2012 Grand Prix, Sherif went out and bought a huge 80ft Catamaran.

Purchases included a pub, a luxury charter boat, a nightclub and lock of land with waterfront views. The pub turned out to be a thirsty venue, as Sherif sunk more than AU$1.3m into transforming the pub, but it lost an eye-watering AU$1m over a 3-year period. All investments had flopped resulting in a penniless ex-millionaire. The former cinema worker launched legal action against his real estate agent in 2014, citing Mr Poliwka engaged in “misleading or deceptive conduct in trade or commerce”. The legal document also claimed Mr Poliwka had committed a “breach of a duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence” through his investment advice.

The judge ruled in the ex-lotto winners favour, but despite winning his case at the Supreme Court, Russell Poliwka, the real estate agent, will only need to pay back AU$2m – which is substantially less than the AU$30m Sherif was hoping for.

At the Supreme Court, Justice John Vaughan said:

“Mr Poliwka operated as a sounding board for Mr Girgis and was involved in decision making for Mr Girgis. Mr Girgis looked to Mr Poliwka for advice and deferred to and acted on Mr Poliwka’s representations and advice. Reasonable reliance on Mr Poliwka’s misleading or deceptive representation, and on Mr Poliwka’s negligent advice, has been established.”

 Powerball – the Official Lottery of Australia

Powerball is a weekly Australian lotto game played every Thursday night and this week; the lotto is estimated to be at AU$80,000,000. In Powerball there are two barrels of numbers. The first barrel holds 35 balls numbered from 1 to 35 inclusive. The second barrels hold 20 balls numbered from 1 to 20 inclusive. From the first barrel 7 winning numbers are selected. From the second barrel one number, called the Powerball is drawn. To win Division 1 you must match all 7 winning numbers plus the Powerball in a single game.

The chance of winning a Division 1 prize in Powerball is 1 in 134,490,400. The chance of winning any division prize with a single game in Powerball is 1 in 44.