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Lottery winner imprisoned for buying tickets with drug money

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Lottery winner imprisoned for buying tickets with drug money

A $12 million Texas lottery winner who bought his lucky ticket with drug proceeds got two strikes today: a 24-year federal prison sentence and an order to return the money.

A federal judge sentenced Jose Luis Betancourt, 52, who was convicted by a jury in June of conspiracy and two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The jury in a second verdict said Betancourt should forfeit his lottery jackpot because the ticket was purchased with drug proceeds.

Betancourt had been trafficking cocaine more than two years before his arrest and was dealing cocaine days after the winnings were deposited into his bank account, according to testimony at his trial.

Evidence showed he managed and organized the distribution of more than 100 kilograms of cocaine between May 2002 and January.

Betancourt won the money Dec. 11. Prosecutors said that on Jan. 14, after lottery officials verified his winning ticket, approximately $5.5 million -- representing the cash-out proceeds minus an amount withheld for federal income taxes -- was deposited into Betancourt's bank account.

Jurors heard a Jan. 16 recording of Betancourt delivering 36 grams of cocaine to a confidential informant and discussing his 20-year involvement in drug trafficking and his association with the Gulf Cartel. He told the informant he had more cocaine at his apartment.

Agents searched Betancourt's apartment the next day and found an additional 1.63 kilograms of cocaine and drug paraphernalia hidden in the dishwasher and pantry.

Testimony showed that Betancourt had not filed or paid federal income tax since 1989.

The defense was unable to back a claim that Betancourt bought the ticket with money he earned selling used clothing.

AP

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3 comments. Last comment 13 years ago by RJOh.
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United States
Member #972
December 30, 2002
465 Posts
Offline
Posted: November 5, 2003, 7:50 am - IP Logged

He should have said he bought the ticket with change he found in a pay phone or empties he had returned. 

That question I have is: if he is not entitled to the money (which, by the way, would probably keep him out of the drug dealing business for good and helped him pay off those 14 year of back taxes) then by all logic it should go back in the pot and be available to other players. It should not be confiscated by the state.  It is his "winning" the state lottery that is illegal, not strictly possessing $5 million - if he had won it somewhere else it would be legal, right? In order for him to have not won, the money needs to be returned to the pot - otherwise he won, then the state stole his money.  That's such a backwards, moronic law. I wish I'd been on that jury.  But let that be a lesson you Texas drug dealers - let your non-drug dealing brother cash the ticket in and pay you on the side.  Or is it also illegal to give your brother $2 million in Texas?

    mjwinsmith's avatar - moon

    United States
    Member #391
    June 8, 2002
    16059 Posts
    Online
    Posted: November 8, 2003, 8:22 am - IP Logged
    Quote: Originally posted by tg636 on November 05, 2003



    He should have said he bought the ticket with change he found in a pay phone or empties he had returned. 

    That question I have is: if he is not entitled to the money (which, by the way, would probably keep him out of the drug dealing business for good and helped him pay off those 14 year of back taxes) then by all logic it should go back in the pot and be available to other players. It should not be confiscated by the state.  It is his "winning" the state lottery that is illegal, not strictly possessing $5 million - if he had won it somewhere else it would be legal, right? In order for him to have not won, the money needs to be returned to the pot - otherwise he won, then the state stole his money.  That's such a backwards, moronic law. I wish I'd been on that jury.  But let that be a lesson you Texas drug dealers - let your non-drug dealing brother cash the ticket in and pay you on the side.  Or is it also illegal to give your brother $2 million in Texas?





      I just love this, but then again a lot of foolishness comes out of 'Texas'

     Just look who is running the country!  Nuff said, LOL!

      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
      mid-Ohio
      United States
      Member #9
      March 24, 2001
      19817 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: November 8, 2003, 1:13 pm - IP Logged

      I wonder if any of those Enron executives will have to return any of the things they bought with their stolen of ill gotten funds or does Texas have different laws for different crooks?  From news I've read about Texas and some of their court decisions lately, I think they make up laws as needed and if they aren't challenged, they get away with it.

      RJOh

       * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
         
                   Evil Looking