Criminal to Be Robbed of His Lottery Winnings?
To many, the idea of winning the lottery is a sacred fantasy-though few people expect to win, even fewer expect to win and then have the winnings be declared unlawful. But that seems to be exactly what happened to one Massachusetts man.
Timothy Elliot, 55, bought a lottery ticket for the $800 million Spectacular game in late November, according to reports from msnbc.com. His chances of winning were 1 in 1,247,400. Elliot’s ticket won him one million dollars.
But, when he collected his first payment, officials noticed something: Elliot was reportedly on parole when he bought the ticket, and the terms of that parole forbade him from gambling, buying lottery tickets, or visiting establishments where gambling occurs, including restaurants where Keno is played.
Since he violated the terms of his parole, Elliot may have to give up his winnings, reports indicate.
Apparently, Elliot had a background unlike that of the typical lottery-winner. In 2001, he was convicted of armed robbery and grand larceny for robbing a bank. And just last year, he pleaded guilty to unarmed robbery for an incident at another bank.
As of now, sources have not yet revealed why Elliot’s parole prohibited him from buying lottery tickets. But one criminal defense attorney explained that, if a convict admits to having stolen money to pay gambling debts, parole agreements often include anti-gambling clauses.
In Elliot’s case, the gambling restriction was reportedly paired with a mandatory stint in a mental health care facility. Sources indicate that, since August, Elliot had unsupervised time during the day. That’s how he managed to enter the store where the lottery tickets were sold.
Boston.com reports that lottery winners’ names are cross-referenced with records of delinquent child support payments and unpaid taxes, to make sure money goes to those sources first. But they’re not checked against criminal records. Apparently, an incident like this has never happened before.
According to sources, Elliot is scheduled for a court hearing on December 7th to determine whether or not he can keep the money. Though lottery officials have reportedly been treating Elliot like “any other winner” so far, they have acknowledged that the court has the final say in the matter.
District Attorney Michael O’Keefe has allegedly expressed the belief that Elliot should have to give up his questionable winnings, perhaps because the state sought to put the two-time bank robber behind bars for his 2006 robbery, but the judge merely sentenced him to probation.
One of the most pressing questions that remains, then, is this: has Timothy Elliot had extraordinarily good luck, or extraordinarily bad?