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How to protect yourself in a Powerball office pool

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PHOENIX, Ariz. — It’s a dream that can turn into a nightmare if you are not prepared.

Some Valley attorneys are raising concerns about Powerball office pools leading up to Wednesday’s record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot.

Megan Leese will be the first to tell you that she has virtually no shot at winning this week’s Powerball jackpot. But when a co-worker asked her to join an office pool, she couldn’t resist chipping in $5.

“I don’t normally participate, but with 1.5 billion, it kind of feels crazy,” Leese said. “And like it might not ever happen again.”

The Valley Web developer is like millions of Americans looking to increase their odds of winning the Powerball jackpot by teaming up with co-workers and buying more tickets.

Most of the these casual players figure that there will be plenty of money to go around on the slim chance their office wins big.

But the truth is that a potential Powerball celebration can turn ugly if it’s unclear who bought into the pool and who didn’t.

Bryan Zavala with the James Agency in Scottsdale wants to eliminate any and all confusion with his Powerball office pool.

He set up system in which he documents everyone who buys in that week and lets everyone know who’s playing.

“We all trust each other like a family,” Zavala said. “But with this much on the line we put it in writing. It’s always in a email. Everybody gets a copy of tickets once we purchase them so they can watch the drawing.”

Valley attorney Robert Sewell said that there have been several occasions in which someone in an office will claim he or she chipped in money or told someone to add them to the list but never did.

For that reason, you should protect yourself with a written agreement instead of relying on something a co-worker said.

“In a written contract you look to the terms,” Sewell said. “But in a verbal contract, each person will testify to what the terms are and they typically testify to spin that’s in their best interest.”