Sentencing Today in L.A. for Bank Robber Who Hit Lottery Jackpot

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A serial bank robber who won a $19 million SuperLotto jackpot in 1998 faces sentencing today in Los Angeles for heists that netted about $40,000.

James Allen Hayes was indicted in October 2017 in federal court in connection with a string of 10 bank heists in Pacific Palisades, Stevenson Ranch, Valencia, Newhall and elsewhere. He subsequently pleaded guilty to four robberies, in which he used a note demanding cash and threatened to shoot if the employee did not comply.

Prosecutors are asking U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin to hand Hayes about five years behind bars, while the defense is pushing for a year in custody.

As part of his plea agreement, the 56-year-old Hayes agreed to forfeit a light-colored Chrysler PT Cruiser, which was used in some of the robberies and earned him one of his two monikers -- the ``PT Cruiser Bandit.'' He was also dubbed the ``Seasoned Bandit'' by the FBI due to the robber's gray/white hair.

Hayes was working in Ventura as a security guard supervisor on the graveyard shift in January 1998 when he learned he had won the SuperLotto jackpot -- a one-in-18 million chance. According to media reports, his ex-wife got half of the money and Hayes ended up with a $6 million lump sum and a $1,000-a-week heroin habit.

When tracked down and arrested by the FBI, Hayes was living in a garage, authorities said.

A defense attorney wrote that Hayes was a victim of the ``lottery curse'' and lost his ``bearing in life'' before turning to bank robbery.

Photo: Getty Images

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