A convicted sexual predator has won almost $3 million from a Florida Lottery scratch-off ticket.
Orlando television station WKMG reported Wednesday that Timothy Poole purchased the winning ticket last weekend at a convenience store in Mount Dora, near Orlando.
Poole is listed on a Florida Department of Law Enforcement website as a sexual predator.
The television station says Poole was arrested in 1999 for on a charge of sexually battering a 9-year-old boy. Poole denied the allegations but pleaded guilty to attempted sexual battery and was sentenced to time served in jail.
His probation was revoked in 2003 after he failed to show up for counseling sessions. He was sentenced to three years in prison and released in 2006.
Poole tells WKMG he was wrongly accused.
The Orlando Sun Sentinel reports that 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
Florida state law does not prohibit convicted felons from playing and pocketing lottery winnings. In fact, in 2007 another Florida resident who had been arrested for lewd and lascivious or indecent assault upon a child took home a $14 million lottery jackpot. Earlier this year, Massachusetts legislators considered a bill that would prevent registered sex offenders from collecting lottery winnings. At least two convicted felons have won the lottery in Massachusetts since 2008.
But winning the lottery may not necessarily mean that felons will keep the winnings. Victims may find it worthwhile, assuming the statute of limitations hasn't expired, to seek financial damages in a lawsuit from now wealthy perpetrators of the crime.