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Judge denies request to freeze assets of sex predator who won Fla. lottery

When a convicted sexual predator in Lake County won the Florida Lottery, it sparked conversations about whether felons should be able to keep lottery winnings.

The man's alleged victims sued to put a restraining order on his spending of the money, but Friday morning a judge denied their request.

Timothy Poole is a registered sexual predator who lives in Mount Dora.

Poole won a $3 million lottery scratch-off game in December. After taxes he took home more than $2 million.

Two brothers who claim Poole abused them when they were 5 and 9 years old sued him, claiming pain, suffering and psychological damage.

On Friday an Orange County judge said there is no Florida law that allows her to freeze Poole's assets.

That means Poole can spend the winnings as he pleases until the lawsuit against him is resolved.

Poole pleaded guilty in 1999 to a charge of attempted sexual battery on a child younger than 12 years old and has been arrested a dozen times in Florida.

Attorney Mark NeJame, whose law firm represents the two men suing Poole, told Channel 9's Vanessa Welch that while he and his clients are disappointed, the judge's ruling wasn't a surprise. He said the law is on Poole's side, something he and his clients are working with state leaders to change.

NeJame said he contacted Florida Sen. Darren Soto, who has been working on a proposed bill that would freeze the assets of a convicted sex offender who wins the lottery. The law would allow for the assets to be frozen for one year, giving victims time to file lawsuits against the offenders.

Soto plans to file the proposed bill next week.

Welch attempted to contact Poole's attorney for comment for the story, but her calls were not returned.

Copyright © 2015,Cox Media Group

Source: Channel 9 News

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