Freeze order remains in place in $9.5m lottery dispute

Published: .
Updated: .

A big lottery jackpot is in limbo over accusations from a group of Indianapolis hairstylists who say they were cheated out of the winnings by a co-worker.

A Marion County Judge ruled Friday the injunction will remain in place. That means the Hoosier Lottery cannot pay out that $9.5 million jackpot for the foreseeable future, basically continuing a freeze on the money. The extra time gives the two sides a chance to try and work this out on their own or take it back to court and let a judge decide who gets the money.

The seven hair stylists from Lou's Creative Styles Hair Salon walked into Wednesday's injunction hearing at Marion Superior Court all smiles, and confident they had a strong case. The judge backed them up, ruling to leave an injunction in place and saying the state lottery commission is "...prohibited from distributing prize winnings from the February 16, 2013 Hoosier Lottery drawing."

Eyewitness News visited the ladies at Lou's Friday to get their reaction. They didn't want to talk on camera, but did say they're very happy with the ruling, calling it pleasant news.

At Wednesday's hearing, all seven of the women, plus another three former stylists, testified to a longstanding agreement at the salon that whoever bought the pool tickets could not buy their own personal tickets at the same time and place. If they did, then those tickets belonged to the group.

After the hearing, we talked to the attorney for Christy Shaw, the stylist who bought the tickets and claims the winning ticket is hers.

"Did she buy the tickets at the same time?" asked Eyewitness News.

"Yes, she did," said Kent Smith, Christy's attorney.

"Did she know about the rule?"

"That's what we'll figure out," said Smith.

We paid Shaw a visit at the new salon where she's now working. Shaw also had no comment on camera, but told us she's not surprised by this ruling.

When asked whether she would continue the fight or split the jackpot, she stopped talking.

The judge said the seven hairstylists have a strong case.

The seven stylists can either work this out with Shaw on their own and split the money or this can go back to court for a trial where a judge will make that decision for them. We'll continue to follow this story and keep you posted.

How much money are we talking about?

We did some math. While the total jackpot is $9.5 million, if you look at the cash payout, which is an entirely different prize, that boils down to about $3 million. After taxes, it's $2.1 million take home for a single person. Divided eight ways, each stylist would take home $268,500. That's before attorney fees.

Planning a better office lottery pool