Timothy Elliott's life ambition was to win one of the grand prizes in the Massachusetts state lottery. We're not saying that to be snarky -- this actually did seem to be Elliott's grand vision for his life. For example, there was the time in 2006 when he committed armed robbery at one convenience store, fled to another convenience store, and spent his take on lottery tickets (and didn't win).
We should point out here that Elliott was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, and for the above incident he was given probation and mandatory mental health counseling in lieu of any real jail time for his caper. And, as part of his probation, he was instructed to stay out of trouble: no leaving the state, no drug use, no gambling, the standard stuff.
Nothing but sitting in a chair all day long, super depressed.
But then his luck took a turn for the better when he purchased another state lotto ticket the legit way in November 2007 and won a million bucks. Finally! See, persistence pays off, kids.
Oh, wait -- remember the list of stuff he was supposed to avoid while on probation? And how "gambling" was on there? Yeah, as it turns out, paying a dollar or whatever for a scratch ticket is still considered gambling, if you want to get technical about it. So when Elliott cashed in his $1 million winning ticket, a picture of him went in the papers. Somebody saw the (actually pretty awesome) photo ...
Massachusetts State Lottery
That's a mug shot we wouldn't be ashamed of.
... and realized that it was none other than that Timothy Elliott. He was arraigned less than 48 hours after his big day, facing not only a return to jail, but also the forfeiture of his million-dollar dream.
Fortunately, this story has a relatively happy ending. Elliott is still an ex-con, but the courts overturned the probation violation and ended up giving him his winnings, with the provision that he pay a modest restitution. We say "relatively" happy ending, because if you have learned nothing else from this article, it's that winning that much cash appears to be a goddamned curse.
Will Millar would like to thank his parents, Charlie and Ellen, for giving him the inspiration for this article. He'd also love it if you checked out his book, Infernal Machines.
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