Like the official 1991 Florida Lottery slogan said: “”Every Ticket Is A Winner For Education” , the entire southern state is now getting an education about recent lottery winner Timothy Poole – he’s a registered sex offender, convicted felon, and has been arrested over 12 times.
According to an article by The Orlando Sentinel titled “Sexual predator wins $3 million from Florida lottery” :
At the Florida Lottery headquarters, Timothy Poole, 43, posed for a photo with an oversized check after claiming his $3 million Scratch-Off prize. But when the image hit the Internet, others recognized the 450-pound man as a registered sexual predator.
In 2001, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office arrested Poole on charges of sexual battery on a victim under 12, records show. Before that, he was arrested in 1991 for stealing almost $20,000 in food stamps from Safeco Inc. of Ocala, where he worked as a guard.
In all, Poole has been arrested 12 times in Florida on charges ranging from grand theft to forging a check, records show. Poole served three months in prison in 1996 and did a second stint from 2003 to 2006, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.
This week, Poole claimed his winnings from the Florida Lottery in a one-time lump-sum payment of $2,219,807.90. He played the Super Millions scratch-off game which costs $20 a ticket. The game offers 12 top prizes of $3 million and, with Poole’s winner, five remain, spokeswoman Keri Gero said.
A call to Poole’s workplace, Triangle Cabs, was not returned. He did not answer the door of his Mount Dora home where a “No Trespassing” sign was posted on a fence.
The Florida Lottery took down a photo of Poole from its website after learning from media about his past.
“We chose to not draw additional attention to this particular winner,” said Shelly Gerteisen, communications manager for the Florida Lottery.
This is not the first time a registered sex offender has struck it rich.
In 2007, a Jensen Beach man arrested for lewd and lascivious or indecent assault upon a child snagged a $14 million lottery jackpot prize.
This year, Massachusetts legislators are considering a bill to prevent registered sex offenders from collecting lottery earnings after a $10 million winner used the money to buy expensive gifts for a new victim, police said.
In Florida, there are no laws that prohibit registered sexual predators from playing the numbers and collecting winnings. The Florida Lottery cannot withhold earnings based on someone’s criminal record.
“There are no registration laws that would prevent that, but if that offender was under supervision or on probation there could be additional sanctions imposed by the judge,” said Samantha Andrews of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Restrictions depend on the nature of the crime, Andrews said. For example, some sexual predators cannot dress up on Halloween because it attracts attention from children, she said. City or county ordinances may also prevent sexual predators from living within 1,000 feet of a school, day care or park.
Poole pleaded guilty in 2002 to sexual battery of two boys.
The incidents occurred in the late 1990s in both Tavares and Orlando, where he sometimes stayed with the boys’ parents, according to an Orange County sheriff’s report. Poole, then 28, denied the allegations to sheriff’s detectives, saying he would never hurt the boys because he felt as if they were his own.
He was sentenced to five years in prison by Circuit Judge Alan S. Apte and was released from state custody in 2006.
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