Lotto Riches to Rags
Alex Toth and his wife Rhoda won 13 million in a Lotto Drawing 17 years. Today they are broke and facing Tax fraud charges.
The Toths aren't the first lottery winners to squander their winnings and won't be the last. I won't judge them, but I'll just say when one comes upon a windfall it is easy to spend money like tomorrow will never arrive. It always does.
TAMPA - Alex Toth, a former lottery multimillionaire, is in such poor health he cannot withstand a trial on tax fraud charges, according to a letter written by his doctor.
Toth and his wife, Rhoda, won $13 million in Florida Lotto 17 years ago but say they lost it all through gambling, gifts and living the high life. The money created schisms in their family, leading to a lawsuit between Rhoda and her son in 1996.
Last year, IRS agents arrested the couple, charging them with filing false tax returns. The government wants $500,000 from them. But by the time the couple were charged, authorities said, they appeared to have no assets. The lottery money was long gone, and the Hudson couple were living in squalid conditions, their only electricity coming through an extension cord rigged to their car engine.
The criminal tax case is making its way through the courts. Documents on file state that Rhoda Toth expects to enter a guilty plea. Alex Toth's attorney is asking a judge to rule him incompetent to stand trial.
Toward that end, defense attorney Bjorn E. Brunvand filed a letter with the court from Gary Levine, a doctor, who said Alex Toth has been involved in "multiple motor vehicle accidents," the most recent on June 4.
Toth has "chronic pain syndrome," the doctor wrote, as well as Type II diabetes, a poorly controlled, penicillin-resistant staph infection, a history of severe esophagitis, gastritis and degenerative joint and disc disease.
If the Toths are as broke as the Tampa Tribune portrays them, is the prosecution worth pursuing? Feel free to state your opinion. Enforcing the law probably seldom makes sense from a cost benefit perspective, but what would be the cost and consequences of not pursuing felons?
Update- Mr. Chapman has been found. Darn, I won't get a finder's fee!
Linked to- Blue Star, Bullwinkle, Cao,