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Texas lottery winner battled Alzheimer's as daughter stole $250,000

Jun 3, 2018, 4:28 pm

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After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Texas lottery winner battled Alzheimer's as daughter stole $250,000Rating:

Not long after Austin widow Billie Lawler matched all five numbers in the Mega Millions in 2005, her health began to erode along with her $750,000 prize.

She hoped to live out the balance of her life at a high-end Alzheimer's care facility, but was evicted after about a year when she no longer could make the $5,000 monthly rent, prompting a court-ordered investigation that revealed her daughter had burned through her mom's money — a crime against the elderly that prosecutors and judges say is common, but seldom results in criminal charges.

Shipped off to a state-run facility, Lawler died a month later in August 2010 due to complications from a fall. She was 72 — five years after leaving a South Austin convenience store with her winning numbers.

"She did not have the life she should have had but for this theft," Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman said.

Jane Greenwood, the youngest of Lawler's three children, was sentenced to 10 years of probation Wednesday for taking what prosecutors say was about $250,000 of her mom's money. Greenwood gave $27,000 to her husband and $11,000 to a man that a family member said Greenwood had been dating on the side. There were smaller transactions at Walmart and at a sports memorabilia store. She dined at upscale restaurants and cut checks to several more family members.

Greenwood, 53, pleaded guilty in March to two first-degree felonies related to the theft. With so many family members having already pocketed a chunk of Lawler's money, state District Judge Brad Urrutia ordered a $51,000 restitution payment to be made by Greenwood to her mom's sister, Betty Brown.

Reached Friday, Brown, 75, choked back tears and said the lottery win brought more harm than good.

"It meant nothing but misery," she said. "It just seemed like everything happened after that. It's been hard.... We were amazed — absolutely amazed — she could spend that much money in that short of time."

Brown said she agreed with probation as a punishment, believing her sister would not have wanted Greenwood to be placed behind bars. Greenwood's lawyer, Jim Young, said probation was appropriate despite "substantial irregularities to the way the estate was handled." Greenwood is on probation for an unrelated methamphetamine possession case in Hays County.

At the time Lawler checked into Arveda Alzheimer's Family Care in May 2009, her account balance was in the neighborhood of $307,000, prosecutors said. By then, the woman who had lived modestly on whatever she made as a seasonal IRS worker had distributed some of her winnings to family. She treated herself to a Chrysler 300.

Greenwood applied and was appointed by a court to be her mom's guardian. But she never posted a required bond and the agreement was voided in July 2010. Her mom died a month later.

A lawyer appointed to replace Greenwood as guardian discovered money had been missing and filed a criminal complaint with the district attorney's office. Greenwood was indicted in April 2015 on charges of aggravated theft and aggravated misapplication of fiduciary property. The two charges took into account the victim's age.

The prosecutor on the case, Keith Henneke, said that without the theft Lawler would have had enough money to stay at Arveda through mid-2017.

"Unfortunately, these cases are rampant in our communities," Henneke said. "We continue to work hard to bring these cases to light to protect our most vulnerable citizens."

A separate civil dispute was resolved by Greenwood and other heirs of the estate, who distributed roughly $130,000 from the sale of Lawler's South Austin home.

Judge Herman, who oversaw the civil case, said he's pleased that criminal consequences arose from Greenwood's theft.

"There is a reluctance to prosecute because the perception is the victim can't tell you," he said. "It's not the easy case where someone stole my bicycle and we know who did it."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Statesman, Lottery Post Staff

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18 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by music*.
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Simpsonville
United States
Member #163184
January 22, 2015
2231 Posts
Online
Posted: June 3, 2018, 5:24 pm - IP Logged

Speechless...but it's OK.  You know what Karma and this lady have in common..just can't post it here.  Drugs does a body good-not.

    music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
    Fresno, California
    United States
    Member #157851
    August 2, 2014
    3927 Posts
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    Posted: June 3, 2018, 6:56 pm - IP Logged

    Jane Greenwood, a meth-head who was already on probation for that crime. She gets ten more years of probation. Probation can be made to be a difficult life. 

     Austin, Texas we can assume there are plenty of cases throughout the USA. 

     Spend some of your winnings on the protection of your life when you become a Senior Citizen. Especially if your child is a drug addict.

    Unhappy

     "We are all in this together!" 

      picktowin's avatar - Lottery-022.jpg
      wisconsin
      United States
      Member #49377
      January 28, 2007
      3663 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: June 3, 2018, 11:14 pm - IP Logged

      That's why you spend your money while your able to.

      To many kids throw pa and ma in some place and leave them to die there and could careless about them

      Life is short enjoy your money .

      Kids have years to make theirs.

      I see and itsi unreal how many older people in the casino.

      I am glad and they say I am enjoying myself.

      That's good.

      Sorry to say kids aren't like they used to be many years ago.

      She needs to be sent away along time for what she did.

        TheGameGrl's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
        A long and winding road
        United States
        Member #17083
        June 10, 2005
        6436 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: June 4, 2018, 12:22 am - IP Logged

        Probation? For THIS  crime. 

        Gosh almost seems appealing to do the crime and get probation. 

        She gets every freedom granted ...with a little note that says...ohh I'm on probation which means ...absolutely nothing.

        7072 8557 6011 4337

        I was addicted to the hokey pokey, then I turned my life around .

          OneTrickpony's avatar - rocking horse.jpg

          United States
          Member #167652
          July 25, 2015
          118 Posts
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          Posted: June 4, 2018, 8:48 am - IP Logged

          What a shame.  I agree that probation seems too lenient a punishment.  Here in Arizona, the Senior Citizen advocacy groups and lobbyist are very powerful.  They would have hung her by her thumbs.

            duckman's avatar - ducklogodrake64x64
            Jacksonville Florida
            United States
            Member #23017
            October 6, 2005
            1082 Posts
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            Posted: June 4, 2018, 1:15 pm - IP Logged

            "Jane Greenwood, the youngest of Lawler's three children, was sentenced to 10 years of probation"

            10 years of probation is an insult and another crime in itself...

              dpoly1's avatar - driver
              PA
              United States
              Member #66139
              October 16, 2008
              1988 Posts
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              Posted: June 4, 2018, 1:40 pm - IP Logged

              A good reason to set up a Family Trust

              dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -

               

              Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

                music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                Fresno, California
                United States
                Member #157851
                August 2, 2014
                3927 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: June 4, 2018, 1:59 pm - IP Logged

                A good reason to set up a Family Trust

                I Agree!  That is an excellent suggestion. A Family Trust. Thank You dpoly1

                Cheers

                 "We are all in this together!" 

                  Avatar
                  Simpsonville
                  United States
                  Member #163184
                  January 22, 2015
                  2231 Posts
                  Online
                  Posted: June 4, 2018, 3:42 pm - IP Logged

                  I Agree!  That is an excellent suggestion. A Family Trust. Thank You dpoly1

                  Cheers

                  music*,

                   

                  Would you reiterate what you would do if you won the big one?  I know one was an LLC, but there were other considerations too that slip my mind.

                   

                  Thanks!

                    Avatar
                    DMV
                    United States
                    Member #183847
                    August 18, 2017
                    283 Posts
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                    Posted: June 4, 2018, 4:35 pm - IP Logged

                    Her daughter's face look like it got hit with the magical ugly stick......I think that's punishment enough wouldn't you agreePoke

                      Avatar
                      Simpsonville
                      United States
                      Member #163184
                      January 22, 2015
                      2231 Posts
                      Online
                      Posted: June 4, 2018, 4:57 pm - IP Logged

                      Her daughter's face look like it got hit with the magical ugly stick......I think that's punishment enough wouldn't you agreePoke

                      I Agree!

                        music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                        Fresno, California
                        United States
                        Member #157851
                        August 2, 2014
                        3927 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: June 4, 2018, 6:10 pm - IP Logged

                        music*,

                         

                        Would you reiterate what you would do if you won the big one?  I know one was an LLC, but there were other considerations too that slip my mind.

                         

                        Thanks!

                        Sure Bleudog101,  I just watched a video on YouTube that featured Trusts. A Mr. Coons, a lawyer,  discussed Family Trusts, Living Revocable Trusts, and LLCs. I will hire a Trust & Estate Attorney to protect my assets and plan my estate. When I find an excellent lawyer I will be informed about more than what I can learn on YouTube and LP.

                         These are the type of things that I will accomplish before claiming my prize. 

                         I hope this helps.  None of us want to walk the same paths that David Lee Edwards, Sharon Tirabassi, Mr. Andrew Jackson "Jack" Whittaker, William "Bud" Post, the Lottery Lout Michael Carrol in Britain, and many other past winners have done. 

                         US Flag 

                         "We are all in this together!" 

                          music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                          Fresno, California
                          United States
                          Member #157851
                          August 2, 2014
                          3927 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: June 4, 2018, 6:20 pm - IP Logged

                          I like to remember the stories of successful winners. Like Brad Duke in Star, Idaho, Jim and Carolyn McCullar in Washington State, The West family from Oregon,

                           The ones that The Lottery Changed My Life show us. Like the Truckers from Oklahoma. James Gatzke from Chicago, IL who's ticket saved his life. 

                           The Wraggs who we just read about here on Lottery Post. 

                           Plus the winners who are featured in "Lucky" a video from Amazon. Made by Jeffrey Blitz. 

                          Dance

                           "We are all in this together!" 

                            lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

                            United States
                            Member #118605
                            November 4, 2011
                            1423 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: June 4, 2018, 6:32 pm - IP Logged

                            Her daughter's face look like it got hit with the magical ugly stick......I think that's punishment enough wouldn't you agreePoke

                            LOL, too funny.  The mother is attractive  in her picture and the daughter, well, I guess that is the "benefit" of being a meth head you get whooped with an ugly stick lol.