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Criminal’s Lotto Winnings Must be Given Back

A man who won $1 million dollars in the state lottery, then funneled his winnings into a drug operation must forfeit the money even though he signed an agreement to transfer the cash to his wife.

Rafael Quiroz won the money in the California “Big Spin” in 1989. He started selling methamphetamine a few years later. He signed a document saying his wife was entitled to his lottery winnings if he died or in case of “any other legal impediment.”

In 2001, Quiroz was sent to prison for the drug operation, and ordered to forfeit his lottery winnings. His wife argued that she should keep the money, because the court order was the kind of legal impediment described in her husband´s letter. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Decided yesterday that the money must be given back.