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Illinois woman loses out on $50K lottery ticket after buying it with drug money

Illinois LotteryIllinois Lottery: Illinois woman loses out on $50K lottery ticket after buying it with drug money
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DECATUR, Ill. — 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.

Police had first discovered there was a winning ticket in November 2014, after officers from the Decatur Police Street Crimes Unit and the Macon County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team raided an address in the 1600 block of East Hickory Street.

They arrested Terrance Norwood, then age 30, after seizing a loaded SKS-type assault rifle, along with extra ammunition and a quantity of cocaine and cannabis together with a digital scale. Police say they found the rifle in the bedroom and 7.5 grams of cocaine in the kitchen and cannabis stashed throughout the house. Norwood was sentenced in October 2015 to 16 years in state prison for drug dealing, drug possession and armed violence offenses.

Lofton had been present during the raid that led to those charges but had told police she was "unaware" Norwood sold drugs. She also said she hadn't noticed the assault rifle in the bedroom.

Under questioning, detectives claimed Norwood told them about the winning $3 scratch-off lottery ticket, which he had already turned in to claim the prize, worth $35,315 when paid as a lump sum. He said the ticket was his way out of having to sell drugs.

"Norwood stated he was selling drugs to pay the bills until he got that 'little bit of money,'" according to court documents describing Norwood being interrogated at the time by Macon County sheriff's deputy Brian Hickey.

Police further alleged that Lofton at the time of the raid didn't dispute her boyfriend had been the one who had purchased the ticket, although she had scratched it off. But in her later court filing seeking the lottery proceeds before the Macon County judge, the formerly unemployed Lofton said she had bought the ticket with some cash she had earned.

"... She purchased the first ticket, which yielded a free ticket, with money she received from babysitting," court documents stated. "According to Lofton, the free ticket was the winning ticket." She backed up her version of events by producing a claim form dated Oct. 30, 2014, bearing her name and details.

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.

The state of Illinois filed a motion to stay that judgment in July 2015, pending appeal. And now the appeals court, after wading back through various examples of case law, ruled the lottery windfall couldn't escape being linked to money obtained illegally.

"Because of the direct link between the lottery winnings and the funds used to purchase the original ticket, the winnings can reasonably be considered "proceeds traceable" to Norwood's illegal drug sales," the appeals court judges wrote. "The trial court's conclusion to the contrary was in error."

Reacting to the appeals court decision, sheriff's Lt. Jamie Belcher said seized cash like this is normally split among the sheriff's office, Decatur police and the Illinois State Police.

"The money we (the sheriff's office) seize from drug raids goes into a separate drug enforcement account," Belcher said. "That is used to purchase equipment and anything the drug enforcement guys need."

Belcher said it seemed only fair that a drug dealer or his loved ones shouldn't profit, even indirectly, from the proceeds of drug sales. But fighting it out in court over a winning lottery ticket was certainly unusual.

"I've never heard of a case like it before," he added.

Herald & Review

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30 comments. Last comment 2 months ago by BLUEFLAME10.
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LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
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Posted: October 7, 2016, 8:09 am - IP Logged

From what I understand from the article, he was the drug dealer not her.  I don't agree with the State.  What if your brother was a drug dealer and you won some money in the lottery?  Could the State take it saying you could have bought the ticket using your brothers money?  I'm one who thinks that the government; from time to time, oversteps its authority.

Never give up.  Banana

    mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
    JACKPOT HUNTER

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    April 2, 2013
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    Posted: October 7, 2016, 8:14 am - IP Logged

    Why do stuff like this always seem to happen in ILLINOIS? Totally messed up.

    Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

    Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

      TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
      Brooklyn, NY
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      October 29, 2015
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      Posted: October 7, 2016, 9:03 am - IP Logged

      Like the saying goes....."If you play with fire, eventually, you will get burned."

      The Meatman

      “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

      Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

        LottoAce's avatar - WWI Flying_Ace.gif
        N.C.
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        October 28, 2007
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        Posted: October 7, 2016, 9:29 am - IP Logged

        From what I understand from the article, he was the drug dealer not her.  I don't agree with the State.  What if your brother was a drug dealer and you won some money in the lottery?  Could the State take it saying you could have bought the ticket using your brothers money?  I'm one who thinks that the government; from time to time, oversteps its authority.

        I agree. our government is full of criminals. funny you never hear
        about politicians having to give back "dirty" campaign funds.

        "know your limitations, but excede your expectations"

          Raven62's avatar - binary
          New Jersey
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          June 28, 2005
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          Posted: October 7, 2016, 9:31 am - IP Logged

          Why do stuff like this always seem to happen in ILLINOIS? Totally messed up.

          Chicago influences the entire State of Illinois.

          A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

            IPlayWeekly's avatar - avatarmoney
            Columbus, Ohio
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            June 5, 2012
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            Posted: October 7, 2016, 9:49 am - IP Logged

            Stupid is as stupid does

              noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
              Bay Area - California
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              Posted: October 7, 2016, 10:07 am - IP Logged

              From what I understand from the article, he was the drug dealer not her.  I don't agree with the State.  What if your brother was a drug dealer and you won some money in the lottery?  Could the State take it saying you could have bought the ticket using your brothers money?  I'm one who thinks that the government; from time to time, oversteps its authority.

              To put it mildly it's " guilt by association." Remember the other couple " Hot Sauce etc? Things could've turned out the same way had there been a raid on their house & he ran off at the mouth about a winning ticket Ligb.

              People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.


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                Posted: October 7, 2016, 3:02 pm - IP Logged

                Why do stuff like this always seem to happen in ILLINOIS? Totally messed up.

                i am agreeing.

                and from what i hear in the news it was not even her, but the guy she was with so i don't get it 

                wow

                smh

                 

                Glad she trying to take it as high as supreme court. i would too."

                  Artist77's avatar - batman14

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                  Posted: October 7, 2016, 4:29 pm - IP Logged

                  Is that a former gf of Hot Sauce? Then he moved up to a bigger lottery winner? Lol

                  J'aime La France.

                    Get paid's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                    texas
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                    February 11, 2014
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                    Posted: October 7, 2016, 5:21 pm - IP Logged

                    Wow the government jacked the drug dealers.

                      LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
                      Green Bay
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                      Posted: October 7, 2016, 5:54 pm - IP Logged

                      Wow the government jacked the drug dealers.

                      Was she a drug dealer or just his girlfriend?  Guilt by association?  Who cares if she knew he sold drugs?  I don't condone that activity but think about this... You live in a house with your family, your brother is selling drugs and your not.  You win a million in the lottery and the next day the cops bust into your families house and arrest your brother for drug dealing.  They confiscate your lottery winnings because you "could" have purchased that ticket with your brothers drug money. 

                      This whole situation sucks.  Where do we draw the line?  The cops need to prove that ticket was purchased with drug funds... If they can't then...

                      Never give up.  Banana

                        grwurston's avatar - Cute animals_Spider.jpg
                        Winning makes me smile.
                        bel air maryland
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                        Posted: October 7, 2016, 6:25 pm - IP Logged

                        It says the ticket was "mostly likely" bought with drug money. By that reasoning, it was "mostly likely" the food in their fridge was bought with drug money also. Did they seize the food? "Mostly likely" not. Sounds like a money grab. You say, no.

                        Imagine this. You hit a $10 straight on the P3. You cash the tickets, the store puts the cash in a paper bag for you. On the way home, you get pulled over. Cop sees the bag...Hey, what's in the bag? You tell  him. He calls BS. You don't have a receipt.  Do you think you'll see it again?  If you do, it  won't be for quite awhile.

                        "You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player.

                        The numbers will tell you what numbers to play. Pay attention to the numbers.

                        Don't just think outside the box, crush it.

                          LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
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                          Posted: October 7, 2016, 6:40 pm - IP Logged

                          It says the ticket was "mostly likely" bought with drug money. By that reasoning, it was "mostly likely" the food in their fridge was bought with drug money also. Did they seize the food? "Mostly likely" not. Sounds like a money grab. You say, no.

                          Imagine this. You hit a $10 straight on the P3. You cash the tickets, the store puts the cash in a paper bag for you. On the way home, you get pulled over. Cop sees the bag...Hey, what's in the bag? You tell  him. He calls BS. You don't have a receipt.  Do you think you'll see it again?  If you do, it  won't be for quite awhile.

                          And the lawyer you have to hire will cost more than 10K to get your money back.

                          Never give up.  Banana

                            MaximumMillions's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg

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                            Posted: October 7, 2016, 8:15 pm - IP Logged

                            The fact that somebody can just state that "most likely" funds from illegal ventures were used and bar you from your windfall is screwed up.

                             

                            Nolege is power.