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Police Take Winning Lottery Ticket During Drug Raid

Posted on in Criminal Law

Police Take Winning Lottery Ticket During Drug RaidA woman in Decatur, Illinois lost her winning lottery ticket when her home was raided after her boyfriend was suspected of dealing drugs. The winning scratch-off ticket was worth $50,000.  How could the police do this legally?

The answer is that there is a procedure in Illinois called asset forfeiture that allows police to seize property that is suspected to be related to a crime or the fruit of a crime. In the case of the winning lottery ticket, police believed that the ticket was purchased using proceeds from drug dealing.

A trial court ruled that the lottery ticket could be returned to the girlfriend, who was the person who scratched the ticket off. However, the appellate court reversed, holding that police could keep the ticket and the winnings.

Other Forfeiture Cases in Illinois

According to government records, Illinois police have seized $72 million in assets over two years. That is a staggering amount. There are multiple groups who find this practice unfair and utilized too often.

Another Illinois woman had her car seized because her grandson allegedly drove it on a revoked license. The only way she was able to get her car back was with an attorney who reached a settlement with the state.

What Happens to the Seized Property?

If the government gets to keep the assets, they can auction off the property and use the proceeds as it sees fit.  Police in Illinois can keep 90% of the proceeds from the sales of seized property. The assets are usually used to supplement the budget of police and prosecutorial departments.

If the original owner of the property seeks to get the assets back, the owner must prove that the property was not related to criminal activity using his or her own resources.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have had property seized during a police investigation, there may be a way for you to get it back through a separate proceeding. Simply not being convicted or having the charges dropped does not mean you will automatically get your property back.

If you have questions about this or other criminal law issues consulting a DuPage County criminal defense lawyer with ensure that you have a plan on how to move forward. Located in Wheaton, Illinois, our firm has represented many clients throughout the area and has the experience to defend you. Call 630-871-1700 for a free initial consultation today.

Sources:

http://fox2now.com/2016/10/06/illinois-woman-loses-out-on-50k-lottery-ticket-in-drug-case/

https://www.illinoispolicy.org/police-in-illinois-can-seize-your-property-without-convicting-you-of-a-crime/

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