Arnim Ramdass: The Lottery Winner Husband Who Disappeared

What would you do if you won the lottery? Would you quit your job and just disappear? When Florida Lotto winner Arnim Ramdass won the $19 million jackpot with his workplace lotto pool in 2007, he did just that: he fell off the grid and left his wife completely penniless. This is how Arnim Ramdass, the lottery winner husband who disappeared, got away with his riches.

How Did Arnim Ramdass Win the Lottery?

In 2007, Arnim Ramdass was working as an airplane mechanic at Miami International Airport. He was married to Donna Campbell, a former model, who now suffered from an autoimmune disease and could no longer work.

Ramdass was part of a workplace lottery pool at the airport. In June 2007, the lotto pool hit it big when the 17-person group won the massive $19 million Florida Lottery jackpot. They chose to collect the prize as a lump sum payment, which came out to $10.2 million in total. After splitting the prize among all the winners and paying taxes, the final take-home prize that each person took home was about $450,000.

While this was not a multi-million-dollar payday, it was still a respectable sum of cash—and Ramdass didn’t want to share it.

How Did Arnim Ramdass Disappear?

Arnim Ramdass did not tell his wife about the lottery win. He pulled a disappearing act instead.

Arnim Ramdass and Donna Campbell Feeding Wedding Cake to Each OtherAfter collecting his winnings, Ramdass immediately cut off the cable, phone, and Internet service to his house. Next, he grabbed a few pieces of clothing and furniture and moved out, not telling his wife where he was going or why. Once he left, the lottery winner also stopped paying the mortgage on the couple’s home. He kept his job, but no one knew where he lived.

His wife, Donna Campbell, was shell-shocked by the sudden departure. Although the couple had been experiencing relationship problems, she was not expecting Ramdass to walk out.

She became suspicious that her husband disappeared because he had come into a sizeable cash windfall. A quick Internet search revealed that she was right: the Florida Lottery’s official website named Ramdass as one of the jackpot winners.

In 2008, Campbell filed for divorce and tried to sue for half the lottery win—but the judge ruled against her. By this time, the couple’s house went into foreclosure due to unpaid bills and was sold to a new owner. Campbell was forced to move out of her home.

How Did Arnim Ramdass Avoid Sharing His Lottery Winnings?

Big-time lottery winners often discover that dividing a big prize among family members can be an uncomfortable process.

Once the news breaks about their good fortune, winners may find estranged family members suddenly appearing to lay claim to the money. Lottery winners’ children, especially adult children, may expect to be given cash or assume they will inherit the riches upon the winner’s death. Spouses, ex-spouses, and siblings may come looking for their share. Before they know it, many lottery winners find themselves locked in a court battle.

While the law doesn’t always favour lottery winners—such as in the spectacular case of Bud Post III, who squandered a whopping $16.2 million jackpot—Arnim Ramdass may have won by default. For starters, Donna Campbell’s name was not on the house deed. In addition, during a divorce in Florida, marital assets are divided in accordance with a law known as “equitable distribution.”

Among other considerations, the law splits a couple’s shared assets based on what they owned and brought into the marriage, any homemaker contributions, the length of the marriage, income and debt brought by each person, and “intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets” in the two years before or after the divorce filing.

While we could not locate the court proceedings for this case, Donna Campbell’s claim to half the lottery prize was likely denied based on one or more of these factors.

Where Is Arnim Ramdass Today?

Today, 64-year-old Arnim Ramdass is keeping a low profile in Orlando, Florida. While news reports surfaced that his ex-wife took him to court again in 2013, no information was published about the outcome.

Lessons to Learn from This Story

There are several clear lessons to be taken from Ramdass’s story.

Firstly, if you participate in a lottery pool with 17 other people, you may not take home millions of dollars. You may be able to win more with a slightly smaller pool of people—or by participating in a lottery syndicate.

Secondly, no matter how much money you win, people are going to want a share of your prize.

Finally, running away from your family will not keep your lotto winnings safe. Instead, get yourself an accountant and a lawyer, clarify your legal position, and take appropriate legal action to safeguard your assets and winnings. A lawyer specializing in lottery prizes can help you set up a lotto trust to make sure your money is well cared for.

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