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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.

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