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Mich. lottery winner burns through money, gets jail time for drugs

Jan 14, 2012, 1:09 pm

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After the Big Win

A Williams Township, Michigan, lottery winner will be spending about the next month and a half behind bars for illegally possessing a prescription painkiller.

Isabella County Trial Court Judge Mark H. Duthie on Thursday sentenced Leroy N. Fick, 59, to 45 days in jail with credit for three days served. Upon release, he will serve one year of probation and must also pay several court fines and costs.

Fick was late in appearing for the 2 p.m. hearing in Duthie's courtroom and had to be picked up by his attorney, John Wilson. The pair entered the courtroom around 2:40 p.m., Fick's blond-white hair flowing out from under his Vietnam veteran baseball cap.

"Mr. Fick is the infamous Leroy Fick from lottery days gone by," Wilson told the judge. "Unfortunately, that's exactly what they are — they're gone by."

Though Fick received a lump sum of about $850,000 after winning about $2 million in Michigan's Make Me Rich! lottery in June 2010, he now lives on a fixed income of $1,100 a month, Wilson said. Fick sparked controversy when he admitted to using a Bridge Card after winning the jackpot.

(See $2M Michigan lottery winner defends use of food stamps, Lottery Post, May 18, 2011.)

"How long did it take him to go through that amount of money?" Duthie asked.

About one year, Wilson replied, adding that Fick was not equipped to handle such a large sum and that family and friends took advantage of him.

Isabella County Sheriff's deputies pulled over Fick in Chippewa Township in September and found prescription painkillers in his possession. Fick on Dec. 8 pleaded guilty to one count of possession of hydromorphone and a count of driving on a suspended license, second offense. In exchange for his pleas, prosecutors dismissed a count of possession of hydrocodone.

Wilson said Fick suffers from pain and that friends provided him with the painkillers.

In Bay County District Court, Fick is facing three misdemeanor charges of possession of illegal fireworks, plus numerous traffic violations, including driving on a suspended license, driving without insurance, allowing an unlicensed person to drive and driving 97 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Once Fick has served his time in Isabella County, he will accept a plea offer in Bay County, Wilson said.

"He likes fireworks," Wilson said. "That's where a lot of the money has gone, frankly."

Fick declined to comment when the judge afforded him the opportunity.

Sentencing guidelines were between zero and 17 months, Duthie said.

"You've just been involved in so much criminal activity over such a short period of time, that I have to give you some jail," the judge told Fick, just before he was escorted out of the courtroom by a deputy.

Thanks to DC81 for the tip.

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