It has been revealed that Michigan’s latest Mega Millions lottery winner has a string of convictions behind him. Fred Topous aged 45, is a registered sex offender and has also spent time in prison for other crimes. In fact he has been in an institution or on parole for all but three years since 1984 for three separate convictions and was discharged from the Department of Corrections on Oct. 20, 2006, after successfully completing two years on parole, an official said. The Mega Millions results for the draw held on June 13th 2008 which revealed the winning numbers of 8, 9, 14, 38, 44 and a Powerball of 36, propelled the ex-convict to multi-millionaire status overnight.
As news of his Michigan Mega Millions lottery win came into the public domain, prison officials reportedly asked the attorney general's office if costs associated with the time he served in prison could be recovered. "As long as you've been discharged from the Michigan Department of Corrections, we can't start litigation to cover the cost of his care," said Rusty Hills, spokesman for Attorney General Mike Cox. That means the attorney general can't pursue Topous as it has with others, including Dr. Jack Kevorkian. The average cost of a stay in prison to the taxpayer is approximately $30,000 a year. And assuming Topous did wish to reimburse the state, it would make little impact on his Mega Millions lotto jackpot winnings.
By taking the lump sum payment for his Mega Millions prize he walks away with nearly $34 million after taxes. Topous pleaded guilty to breaking-and-entering in Grand Traverse County in 1984 and again in 1988, according to corrections records, and was discharged from state supervision in 1996. Then In 1999, Topous pleaded guilty in Grand Traverse County to attempted criminal sexual conduct the records say. He was sentenced to between 5 to 10 years in prison. Russ Marlan, Prisons Spokesperson, conceded Topous had a "decent" record in prison and had a job while on parole. The Michigan Lottery told Grand Rapids television station WOOD that anyone can play the lottery except those under 18 and those who work for the agency, so his Mega Millions lottery win is legal and binding.
The Mega Millions prize winning ticket was purchased at Party World in Alpine Township. The shop assistants there describe him as a nice customer who buys beer and enjoys chatting. He found out he was a Mega Millions winner while driving home from work when the numbers were read out. Topous himself has not made any official statement, but through lottery officials has said he will quit his job at Structural Standards in Sparta and planned a long vacation. He is also planning to use his new-found Mega Millions lottery wealth to buy a house and send his children to college.
Because the multi-state Mega Millions winners must be identified, unlike Michigan-only lottery winners, Topous' past convictions has meant this is one of the most controversial wins to date. Friend Rick Westcott, 48, said "He's had some tough breaks. I know some of his secrets, and he knows some of mine. I'm not going any further.” He went on to say that Topous picked up his wife and two of his children after claiming the Mega Millions lottery prize fund. He also planned to collect his father, who has cancer and will be taking them on a long vacation. This win is the seventh-largest jackpot in Michigan lottery history.