How a lottery jackpot winner became a bank robber

How a lottery jackpot winner became a bank robber

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A person who as soon as received tens of millions of bucks within the California Lottery pleaded in charge Thursday in downtown Los Angeles to 4 counts of bank theft.

On Thursday, James Allen Hayes, a safety guard became in a single day millionaire, stood in a Los Angeles court docket and pleaded in charge to committing a collection of bank robberies. Hayes, 55, faces as much as 80 years in the back of bars, with sentencing set for June 7 ahead of U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin.

Hayes admitted to being the serial bank robber identified to federal brokers as each the Seasoned Bandit and PT Cruiser Bandit. His admission comes 20 years after he received a $19 million California Superlotto jackpot. The jackpot made him he second-largest Ventura County lottery winner ever.

When tracked down and arrested by way of the FBI in October, Hayes was once dwelling in a storage, government mentioned.

Hayes was once meant to spend his days tinkering along with his vintage automotive, vacationing along with his spouse on a tropical seashore and serving to out his family and friends. Instead, he may spend the remainder of his existence in a federal jail, looking to kick a $1,000-a-week heroin addiction.

‘I do know I will trade …for the simpler’

Hayes was once positive his string of unhealthy good fortune had come to an result in 1998 when he received the $19 million jackpot. The odds of successful the prize had been greater than 18 million to one, and excellent fortune appeared to be on his facet.

Things had been going to switch for Hayes. He give up his night time shift task with Dial Security in Ventura County. He would now not must reside paycheck to paycheck. The IRS would get off his again and he’d soup up his ’68 Camaro. He would be capable of spend extra time along with his spouse, who labored days, and they might be capable of take a go back and forth to Hawaii.

“I’m not going to blow the money,” Hayes advised the Los Angeles Timesback in 1998. “I know I’ll change. But only for the better…. Mainly what I want to do is help out my family and friends in need.”

The cash could not have come at a higher time.

“I don’t have a savings account,” Hayes admitted to the Times. “I have a restored muscle car.”

But Hayes noticed his successful as a signal of excellent issues to return. He and his spouse would purchase a great area in combination in Camarillo, and he’d stay enjoying the lottery as a result of now good fortune was once on his facet. And he’d purchase a new automotive, he advised the native newspaper.

The PT Cruiser Bandit

It did not take lengthy for Hayes’ existence to fall aside. Not lengthy after he received the lottery, he were given divorced, and his ex-wife were given part of the cash, in keeping with reviews. Hayes walked away with a $6 million lump sum. It wasn’t sufficient to make stronger a critical drug addiction. Spending $1,000 a week on heroin, Hayes blew via his winnings, in keeping with investigators.

So the previous safety guard became a bank robber.

He was once indicted ultimate 12 months in Los Angeles federal court docket in reference to a string of 10 heists between April and September in Pacific Palisades, Stevenson Ranch and Newhall. On Thursday, he pleaded in charge to bank robberies in Newhall, Valencia and Santa Barbara County, by which he were given away with a overall of about $40,000.

In each and every heist, Hayes used a observe to rob the bank.

On May 24 of 2017, Hayes walked into a Union Bank on Carpinteria Avenue and slipped the teller with a observe that learn, “$5,000, no signals, no dye packs, no GPS, no sensors, no eye contact.”

With the cash from that haul, he purchased himself a PT Cruiser, federal prosecutors allege. Formerly dubbed the “Seasoned Bandit” for his surprise of white hair, he became referred to as the “PT Cruiser bandit” to FBI investigators ultimate in on him.

Hayes used the similar approach right through each and every theft.

On June 12, he gave a teller a observe, threatening to shoot her. “Give me $10,000 in large bills. Be quick, I’m watching your every move. I have a gun,” it mentioned.

Hayes endured his spree, robbing two to a few banks each and every month till investigators discovered him squatting in a storage in Ventura ultimate October.

Hayes faces 80 years in jail when he is sentenced in June.

Back when he received the lottery, Hayes mirrored on his existence.

“I was very happy before this,” Hayes advised the Times. “This just tops it off.”

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Updated: March 17, 2018 — 6:23 pm

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