A judge in Massachusetts has ruled that a convicted two-time bank robber can keep a $1 million lottery prize he won recently, even though playing the lottery violated the terms of his probation.
Timothy Elliott pleaded guilty to unarmed robbery in 2006 (he had previously spent two years in jail for the armed kind), and was given five years of probation, which among other things required him not to "gamble, purchase lottery tickets or visit an establishment where gaming is conducted . . . ." Nonetheless, in November 2007 Elliott bought a $10 ticket for the Massachusetts lottery, and won. Two days after he picked up his first check, he was invited to court to discuss what should happen to the money.
The lottery commission and probation department both recommended that Elliott be allowed to keep the money, and on Friday, January 18, Superior Court Judge Richard Connon agreed. Elliott will be required, however, to pay $65 a month for the costs of his probation, a fee that had previously been waived because Elliott had no money. He will now have to pay that amount out of the $50,000 check he will receive from the state each year for the next 20 years.
I've provided a picture of Mr. Elliott here in case you are putting together a ZZ Top tribute band and need someone who can buy his own instruments. I had to get this one from the Boston Globe because, while the Massachusetts State Lottery publishes pictures and press releases about big winners on its website, oddly enough Mr. Elliott is not mentioned there at all.