from CBS2 Los Angeles
It’s probably a good thing you didn’t hit that $456.7 million Powerball over the weekend because you probably would’ve ended up pretty much like James Allen Hayes, the 1998 $19 million lottery winner who pleaded guilty last week to bank robberies throughout southern California.
He faces up to 20 years behind bars when he is sentenced and could be ordered to pay restitution of about $40,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Hayes was a Ventura security guard supervisor on the graveyard shift in January of 1998 when he won a $19 million SuperLotto jackpot. His ex-wife reportedly took half the jackpot, and Hayes ended up with a $6 million lump sum and a $1,000-a-week heroin habit.
When tracked down and arrested by the FBI in October, authorities said Hayes was living in an abandoned garage.
Here I was in a lottery with the entire neighborhood — somewhere around 20 entrants — just wanting to make a few bucks (I was looking at about $13.5 million take home) to redo the concrete around the patio. Jimbo, on the other hand, figured out a way to blow through $6 million in cash after the ex got her hands on half. Via my quick math, James was 35 when he hit that lottery. Just by living a semi-conservative life he would’ve had no problem never working again. Sounds like he got bored.
Lesson learned, bro.
And now he could get 80 years in jail. All you lotto hopefuls need to let that sink in for a minute.
“I’m not going to blow the money,” Hayes told the Los Angeles Timesback in 1998. “I know I’ll change. But only for the better. … Mainly what I want to do is help out my family and friends in need.”
But Hayes saw his winning as a sign of good things to come. He and his wife would buy a nice house together in Camarillo, and he’d keep playing the lottery because now luck was on his side. And he’d buy a new car, he told the local newspaper.
It didn’t take long for Hayes’ life to fall apart. Not long after he won the lottery, he got divorced, and his ex-wife got half of the money, according to reports. Hayes walked away with a $6 million lump sum. It wasn’t enough to support a serious drug habit. Spending, $1,000 a week on heroin, Hayes blew through his winnings, according to investigators.
So the former security guard became a bank robber.