A Florida man who pleaded guilty to attempted sexual battery of a 9-year-old boy just struck it rich.
Timothy Dale Poole won $3 million on a state lottery scratch-off ticket he purchased at a Mount Dora 7-Eleven store Saturday night, WKMG-TV in Orlando reported.
"He was flabbergasted. He couldn't believe it," said Floyd Snyder, a friend who was with Poole when he hit the jackpot. "It was quite a remarkable thing. My heart is still beating."
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In 1999, Orange County authorities arrested Poole following allegations that he sexually battering a 9-year-old boy. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Poole was a friend of the victim's family who once lived at their home. The victim also spent some weekends at Poole's home, according to investigators.
"He said Tim would sleep in the same bed as him at his house" and perform a sex act on the child, the detective wrote in the affidavit. "He said sometimes Tim would wake him up from sleeping to (perform a sex act)."
Poole denied the allegations, according to the report.
As part of a plea bargain, Poole pleaded guilty to attempted sexual battery and was sentenced to the 13 months he had already served in jail. The judge also ordered Poole to serve 10 years of sex offender probation and register as a sexual predator. A judge can designate someone as a predator if the defendant used physical violence, preyed on children or had repeat violations.
But in 2003, Poole went to prison for three years after his probation was revoked. He was kicked out of his mandatory sex offender counseling because he didn't show up to four group sessions, WKMG reported, citing court records.
After his 2006 release Poole has had no other legal run-ins — and as recently as last month told WKMG he is innocent regard the attempted sexual battery.
"It may be hard for some to believe, but sometimes people are wrongly accused," Poole told the station.
Poole drives and dispatches for Triangle Cab, a Mount Dora taxi company his mother owns, WKMG said, citing records.
"I've known him for years and I've never seen any inclination of anything like that with him," Snyder said, adding that Poole should keep the money because he "deserves a break": "He's a very positive person. Very kind. Giving," Snyder added to the station. "I think that's why he won. It's Christmastime and the dude deserves a break."
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Poole turned in his winning Super Millions scratch-off ticket at Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee on Monday. Lottery officials said he chose to receive his winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment of $2,219,807.90.
Florida law does not allow the lottery to withhold payments from winners based on their criminal records, according to spokeswoman. However, before a winner receives a check, Florida Lottery officials conduct a background check using their Social Security number to ensure they do not owe child support or any outstanding debts to a state agency.
WKMG said it couldn't reach Poole for comment regarding his lottery win, but his friend said Poole would spend some of his winnings on the the taxi cab company.
"He's going to invest in the business," Snyder told the station. "He's going to expand."