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James Allen Hayes: Lottery Winner Turned Bank Robber

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 24,2019 | Time: 05:13 am | Edited by: The Lottery Lab Staff


The desire of wanting more money changes everything!

Imagine you won a lottery jackpot, what would you do? Buy a bigger house? Fancier car? Foreign trips? All of the above? While most people dream of quitting their jobs, taking a break, going on a vacation, James Allen Hayes turned to a life of crime after winning the lottery.

Who is James Allen Hayes?

James Allen Hayes is a resident of Southern California who was working the night shift as a security guard when he won the $19 million California Superlotto jackpot back in 1998. He was 35 at that time and took the annuity. He was guaranteed a payment of $684,000 every year after taxes for the next two decades. You can imagine a bright future from this scenario.

In an interview, he told the Los Angeles Times, that he would he knew that he will change but only for the better. He also stated that his main motive was to help his family and friends in need. James added to the statement that he will Not be blowing out the winning money just like that! But what we saw was totally reverse of it!

Even during his interview after winning, reported plans of buying a new car and moving into a new luxurious house in the posh Spanish Hills development in Camarillo, California. He even sent his two weeks’ notice to his employers and promised not to blow through the money. Unfortunately, this plan came crashing down.

The Seasoned Bandit

Not long after winning the jackpot, Hayes got a divorce and naturally, his wife got half of his winnings and he changed his mind to take a lump sum of $6 million instead of the annuity. Still, this wasn’t enough to make proper investments and live a comfortable life. Sadly, he picked up a nasty drug habit which soon turned into an addiction. He was consuming $1,000 worth of heroin a day. With this drug addiction, his windfall started whittling away quickly. In this situation, others would have brushed themselves off and looked for a job to get their life together. But James had a different plan for recouping his losses. He became a bank robber!

Security Footage of James Allen Hayes robbing banks

The FBI dubbed him as the “seasoned Bandit” because of his silver hair and apparent age. Because of his getaway car, he was also known as “PT Cruiser Bandit”. As stated in court papers he operated the same MO (Modus Operandi) across all his capers. He would pass a note to bank tellers demanding them to give him money and tell them that he had a gun with him. And this approach worked for him. He managed to rob around 11 banks of around $40,000 in total.

The End of the Bandit’s Era

In 2017, the FBI finally caught James Allen Hayes in an abandoned garage he had been living in. After long court proceedings, he was sentenced on June 7, 2018, to serve 20 years in prison.

Winning the lottery can turn your life upside down, either in a good or bad way. The only thing that prevented James from a happy life was his lack of planning, If he had hired a financial advisor and spent his money according, he might be living a comfortable life now!

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