One of Scotland’s most famous lottery winners eventually went broke after investing in Livingston FC. John McGuinness won £10m in 1997 on the National Lottery. It was a life-changing sum of money and he quickly decided to invest £4m of the cash into Livingston Football Club. 12 years later, everything had gone sour. The lottery winning football fan lost it all. What’s more, he took a former business partner to court for fraud.
Early Success for the Club
For a small club like St Johnston, £4m is a lot of money. They initially experienced improved fortunes and Mr McGuiness was happy to have such heavy involvement in its day-to-day running. At the time of the win, he left his job as a nurse and decided to live off the interest from the savings. But the club involvement gave him new direction. Livingston rose through the leagues and built a new stand to cope with the demands of the Scottish Premier League. They set up some big friendly games with the likes of Manchester United, Newcastle United and some well-known continental clubs, unlikely before the investment. Everything seemed to go so well but a dark cloud was on the horizon in the form of an otherwise seemingly innocuous bank loan application.
A Forged Document
Mr McGuinness agreed to guarantee a bank loan presented to him by friend and business partner Willie Haughey. Although a risk for the club, seeing the name of a friend and multimillionaire investor on the paperwork convinced him that all would be well. McGuinness never imagined for one moment that the signature on the paperwork was forged. He also never imagined that financial difficulty – for the club and for himself – would follow.
A Court Case
A problem came to light when the bank took Mr Haughey and Mr McGuinness to court to recover the loan debt. Mr McGuinness had lost the bonds and RBS decided to sue. Mr McGuinness said he’d always trusted both men with the running of the club but with the revelation, it cast doubt on the relationship. However, a twist – handwriting analysts examined the loan document and claimed Mr Haughey’s signature was unlikely to a genuine one. Dominic Keane, a former director who presented Mr McGuinness with the loan documents, was subsequently accused of fraud.
Keane denied the allegation that he intended to use the document to fraudulently obtain a substantial loan from RBS. Eventually, a court case found Mr Keane not guilty. The jury took just 40 minutes to acquit.
Lottery Players Who Lost It All
Winning the lottery is an exciting time. While some players spend it all on a lavish lifestyle, many more are driven by the desire to do some small good in the world. John McGuinness felt he was taking every precaution. After all, his investment in Livingston FC was carefully considered, planned, and executed. Sadly, it was not to be. The case ended in recriminations with Mr McGuinness sadly losing all his winnings from 1997. We may never know what really happened between the three men involved in the court case.