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Florida lottery winners indicted on tax charge

Florida LotteryFlorida Lottery: Florida lottery winners indicted on tax charge

Alex and Rhoda Toth were down to their last $24 in May 1990 when they won $13 million in the Florida Lotto.

The Toths said then that they hoped the money would buy them a simple, quiet life.

They ended up with anything but. Their wealth led to family squabbles and bankruptcy court.

On Tuesday, it led to a federal grand jury indictment.

The Hudson couple are charged with filing fraudulent income tax returns in 2000, 2001 and 2002. If convicted, both face up to 24 years in federal prison.

The Internal Revenue Service also is seeking $554,667 in back taxes.

"This was willful," IRS spokesman Norm Meadows said. "It wasn't just an error. This was criminal."

Meadows said Alex Toth, 58, and his wife, 49, were arrested by U.S. marshals after the grand jury indictment. He wouldn't say where or when they were booked or if they were released. The couple could not be reached for comment.

At first, it seemed winning the Lotto might save the couple. In May 1990, they gassed up their old car at a convenience store. They bought a Lotto ticket — 5-7-30-38-40-43 — and left the store with $24.76 between them to last the rest of the week.

They won, splitting a $40 million jackpot with a Tampa family that had two tickets. The Toths opted to receive their $13 million share in annual payments of $666,666 until 2010. They were excited, but worried.

Alex Toth"It is a lot of money, and it creates a lot of pressure on you," Alex Toth told the St. Petersburg Times in May 1990. "We'll try to work it out."

Six years later, Rhoda Toth appeared before a judge seeking an injunction against her 19-year-old son and his girlfriend. In court records, Toth said she had been threatened and suggested the pair may have killed the family dog and burned her husband's 1986 Chevrolet Corvette.

She got a domestic violence injunction.

They also ended up in a legal tussle with another minor local celebrity, Bertie Higgins, who wrote the hit song Key Largo. In February 1996, Higgins crashed his Chrysler New Yorker into the back of an Isuzu Impulse driven by Rhoda Toth's daughter from a prior marriage.

The crash generated headlines that brought more attention to the family. In fall 1996, they appeared on Oprah.

In fall 1996, they appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The money "has torn us apart," Rhoda Toth the Times in 1997. "It caused us to lose a lot of friends, some family members.

"Sometimes I wish we could give it back."

The Toths started a bar on New York Avenue near US 19 after their lotto money ran out.

The Toths say they gave away too much, to too many people.

Rhoda Toth said, "With family, the more you five the more they wanted. If you bought a house they wanted a bigger house. If you bought them a small car, they wanted a bigger car."

The Toths hope to keep their bar business going while they fight the Internal Revenue Service in federal court.

If convicted the Toths could face 24 years in prison.

Federal court records show the Rhoda Toth filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in 2001 and 2002. Alex Toth filed for similar protection in 2001. Chapter 13 allows qualified debtors to set up a plan to repay their creditors and keep their property.

Pasco County property records show the Toths own a half-acre lot and mobile home on Brenda Street in the northern Pasco County community of Hudson.

According to an indictment released this week, the IRS first noted problems with Alex Toth's 2000 tax return. He claimed his total income as $1,498,526.00. The indictment said "he then and there well knew and believed said statements about his total income were false."

Mrs. Toth's 2000 statement claimed $1,612,413 in total income, also "false according to the indictment." IRS agents noted additional problems in 2001 and 2002 returns.

The grand jury also charged the Toths filed false refund claims. Alex Toth asked for $112,000 refunds in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Rhoda Toth filed similar requests for $72,000.

Meadows, the IRS spokesman, declined to say how investigators unraveled the Toth's taxes.

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22 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by TNPATL.
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SassyOhio's avatar - Picture012
Columbus Ohio
United States
Member #35946
March 25, 2006
234 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 14, 2006, 8:39 am - IP Logged

It's Called SMARTS AND PLANNING PEOPLE!!!!  I just dont understand this NONE OF IT!!! Bang Head  You could have been set for LIFE!!!!  You have to be smart about this stuff Ya'll!! PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN  and ya know what if people are there waiting on a hand out OH WELL Tell them NO if they get mad SO WHAT!!!!  Do ya really think they are going to be there when your BROKE  NO!!!!!!!  So take it run and BE HAPPY!  Sorry this kinda crap KILLS ME!!!  BET when I win you all wont be reading about me in the paper like this!No No  Good Luck Tonight on the MM and Sats PB Everyone! Hyper

Hopin To Be The Lucky Ones!!

COME ON MEGA! MEGA-ME-RICH!

 

Please feel free to visit my sisters memorial page that I have now completed

www.freewebs.com/wendyinmyheartforever

    Avatar
    Coastal Georgia
    United States
    Member #2653
    October 30, 2003
    1866 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: April 14, 2006, 8:59 am - IP Logged

    "Stupid is as stupid does"

    Nice mugshot...

    DD

     

                                   

                  

     

     

      tntea's avatar - Lottery-059.jpg

      United States
      Member #5344
      June 30, 2004
      23622 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: April 14, 2006, 9:02 am - IP Logged

      If you fail to plan, then plan to fail....

           OLD/Vtrac   Lottery Bible         Double Warnings      Thumbs Up TN F34/F44

        BuzzsawAnn's avatar - nw shadow.jpg
        CHICAGO
        United States
        Member #28557
        December 18, 2005
        111 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 14, 2006, 9:27 am - IP Logged


           With all that money she didn't get a makeover- what was she thinking????


           "If you insist on taking something God did not give you He will take back something He did give you " M. Murdoch


          United States
          Member #379
          June 5, 2002
          11296 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 14, 2006, 9:52 am - IP Logged

          Once again the media gets it wrong. They did not CHOOSE annuity. Florida Lotto's cash option did not start until 1998.

            Avatar
            Indiana
            United States
            Member #29196
            December 29, 2005
            280 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 14, 2006, 10:10 am - IP Logged

            Damn!  They think the kid killed the family dog because mommy wouldn't give him any more money?  I'd say the these people had trouble  LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG before they won the lottery.

            Jim 


            Money frees you from doing things you dislike.  Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.  - Groucho Marx

              jeffrey's avatar - moon
              Hamilton, OH
              United States
              Member #4162
              March 27, 2004
              277 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 14, 2006, 12:56 pm - IP Logged

              Damn!  They think the kid killed the family dog because mommy wouldn't give him any more money?  I'd say the these people had trouble  LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG before they won the lottery.

              Jim 

              I Agree! Gosh, say no; it won't kill them.

               

              In 2000, I prayed to win the lottery so I could take my brother to Israel for an experimental operation in order to save his life. I spent my money on my mother's operations before he got sick so I had almost nothing left. I still play the lottery but I have to say I don't have sympathy for these people who blow it. They will just have to live like the rest of the world. They were given a gift and did as they pleased. I hope others will learn from this.

              Tell no one if possible and don't spend the nest egg. You will have your whole life to be free from the worry of money.

                TheGameGrl's avatar - necros
                Pennsylvania
                United States
                Member #17084
                June 10, 2005
                3135 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: April 14, 2006, 2:13 pm - IP Logged

                "The Toths opted to receive their $13 million share in annual payments of $666,666 until 2010. They were excited, but worried."

                Correct me here, but I am sure that 2010 hasnt transpired yet. That being the case they still have an opportunity to settle with the IRS on the TRUE debt owed (if any).  As a natural skeptic when reading any media I would like to believe there is more to this story then is being told. Best to live and learn from anothers mishap then to stand in judgement .

                ________________________________

                Signature quote-Its a true fact that even someone with a dark heart cannot help but be enlightened by a good deed.


                  United States
                  Member #379
                  June 5, 2002
                  11296 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 14, 2006, 2:15 pm - IP Logged

                  "The Toths opted to receive their $13 million share in annual payments of $666,666 until 2010. They were excited, but worried."

                  Correct me here, but I am sure that 2010 hasnt transpired yet. That being the case they still have an opportunity to settle with the IRS on the TRUE debt owed (if any).  As a natural skeptic when reading any media I would like to believe there is more to this story then is being told. Best to live and learn from anothers mishap then to stand in judgement .

                  GameGrl:

                  I said they did not CHOOSE annuity. The choice was not available when they "won".

                    Avatar

                    United States
                    Member #26330
                    November 16, 2005
                    330 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 14, 2006, 2:56 pm - IP Logged

                    These people did practically every thing wrong after winning the lottery.  They didn't try and invest the money.  Didn't have a plan to reduce the tax bit on there jackpot after the win. And they according to another article I read sold the rest of their annuity payments to a company for a lump sum payment. SO they have likely lost most of their winnings my guess if they still have enough to pay off the govenment for their taxes and their lawyers they will be flat BROKE.  I say if you win a smaller prize and think you can't handle big sums of money then still take the lump sum and buy you're own annuities save some money from seeling to one of those companies for a huge loss.

                      Avatar
                      New Member
                      Texas
                      United States
                      Member #37125
                      April 10, 2006
                      19 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: April 14, 2006, 3:14 pm - IP Logged

                      It seems like the states should start a program that gets these people in touch with a financial advisor when they win. It would be cheaper than paying for their welfare after they go broke in a few years.

                        SassyOhio's avatar - Picture012
                        Columbus Ohio
                        United States
                        Member #35946
                        March 25, 2006
                        234 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: April 14, 2006, 4:20 pm - IP Logged

                        It seems like the states should start a program that gets these people in touch with a financial advisor when they win. It would be cheaper than paying for their welfare after they go broke in a few years.

                        I agree with ya there on that one and also I think that all states should allow winners to remain unknown!!!  Its hard when you got  sick people and charities and churches and all this and that in your face I am sure  so a combination of management programs and investment programs and privacy would surely give them a better chance at decisions

                        Hopin To Be The Lucky Ones!!

                        COME ON MEGA! MEGA-ME-RICH!

                         

                        Please feel free to visit my sisters memorial page that I have now completed

                        www.freewebs.com/wendyinmyheartforever

                          Avatar

                          United States
                          Member #10720
                          January 23, 2005
                          932 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: April 14, 2006, 7:02 pm - IP Logged

                          They reported their income as 1.6 million, 1.4 million.. their payments were $666,666.... doesn't that meant they overstated it??? How did they earn MORE THAN 1.6 million in one year?????? What exactly did they fail to claim??????

                            justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                            Wandering Aimlessly
                            United States
                            Member #25360
                            November 5, 2005
                            4458 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: April 15, 2006, 3:05 am - IP Logged

                            "The Toths opted to receive their $13 million share in annual payments of $666,666 until 2010. They were excited, but worried."

                            Correct me here, but I am sure that 2010 hasnt transpired yet. That being the case they still have an opportunity to settle with the IRS on the TRUE debt owed (if any).  As a natural skeptic when reading any media I would like to believe there is more to this story then is being told. Best to live and learn from anothers mishap then to stand in judgement .

                             

                            I Agree!

                            I also read the article the same way.  It's confusing.  If the income reported for 2000 is over $1.6M it's much more than the annuity payment, so how could they be flat broke? The IRS is accusing them of filing false returns which indicates they must have made even more income during those years, correct?  Something is definitely wrong.