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Winning lottery ticket bought with drug money seized

Friday, Oct 7, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Decatur Herald & Review

A woman who lived with a Decatur drug dealer ended up losing big time when she took a judicial gamble on winning back the proceeds of a $50,000 lottery ticket.

The state of Illinois had initially seized the money as the ill-gotten gains of a ticket bought with drug money. But then a Macon County judge later ruled against the state and awarded the lottery cash to the woman, Tykisha Lofton.

Now, in a decision filed Sept. 27, the three-judge Fourth District Appeals Court ruled unanimously to reverse that decision and said the lottery winnings deserve to be kept by the state, where they will be shared among local and state law enforcement agencies.

The appeals court said the state was right in its initial suspicion the ticket had mostly likely been bought with the proceeds of drug sales, and that meant Lofton, who said she had lived with the drug dealer for many years, was out of luck. […]

But the Macon County judge had not bought her story and ruled that Norwood had purchased the ticket “more likely than not with drug money.” However, the judge said extending state forfeiture laws to grab the proceeds from a lottery ticket was going too far.

The judge used examples such as establishing a dry cleaning business with drug money or a drug dealer paying to put himself through medical school and then going to work as a doctor. “Is that money (a doctor’s salary or the profits of a legitimate business) then forfeitable?” wrote the judge. “At some point the connection has to stop.” He then ruled in Lofton’s favor.

       

11 Comments
  1. - AlfondoGonz - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 10:03 am:

    “At some point the connection has to stop.”

    I think we could easily say that point is when the proceeds come from State funded agencies.


  2. - Just Observing - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 10:17 am:

    Government is out of control with forfeiture — it makes me sick how greedy and reckless government is in seizing assets “suspected” of being linked to drugs so police can buy new, fancy toys and hold parties. I’m not even referring to this case, but in general.


  3. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 10:21 am:

    “shared among local and state law enforcement agencies”

    Everybody gets a taste.

    – MrJM


  4. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    Because forfeiture is a civil matter and not a criminal matter, the “more likely than not” standard applies rather than the “beyond a shadow of a doubt” standard. There are some cases where most people would agree that the forfeiture was a reasonable use of discretion, and this is probably one. But the whole concept of civil forfeiture, and how it has been abused in the past and continues to be where the odds of being acquired by illegal activity are much less than 99% certain, is very troubling in a purportedly free society where we are guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


  5. - Rabid - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 10:27 am:

    Why stop there seize the utilitys because their bills were paid with drug money


  6. - Belle - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 10:44 am:

    All of this over $1 Lottery ticket? This seems like a lot of drama over $50,000.


  7. - Bigtwich - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 10:51 am:

    “This seems like a lot of drama over $50,000.”

    Bruce, is that you?


  8. - Bob Emery - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 11:52 am:

    All the state mandates capturing lottery winnings has led to an undergroun economy of winners paying straw men (usually retailers or their relatives) to cash their winning tickets for them. That’s why there are a number of individuals who have been extremely ‘lucky’ and have cashed winning ticket after winning ticket, far more than luck or randomness would provide.


  9. - Ghost - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 12:14 pm:

    The war on drugs is just a horrible waste of resources to begin, before getting into the forfiture laws. Notice that if a dr writes too many rx for narcotic pain pills they are not subjec to forfieture of everything they own. Brutal honesty, its about punishing certain drug dealers only. Otherwise we would be going after pain clinics and MDs.

    We need to end the selective war against certain vices/drugs. Big pharma can fend for itself. dedriminalize or go after the dr feelgoods. otherwise its just hypocrisy.


  10. - frisbee - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    Probably bought those clothes, shoes, dishes and toilet paper with drug money too, no need for the state not to liquidate those assets. /s


  11. - downstate commissioner - Friday, Oct 7, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    Don’t like the forfeiture laws-too much chance of abuse. Don’t like seizure of pocket knives, nail clippers, etc. by Homeland Security at airports, either. Any way it is justified, it is still THEFT by the government.


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