A woman faces felony theft charges after she allegedly cashed in her ex-husband’s winning lottery ticket for $50,000 and then went on a spending spree before getting caught. However, she says she is being falsely accused as it was her money that bought the lottery ticket.
The woman, Kimberly Milstead, was named in a sealed indictment handed down by the Warren County grand jury. She is charged with theft over $10,000, a felony, meaning she could land in prison if convicted.
The chain of events that led to her indictment began at the Raceway Market in Sparta on Oct. 23 when the alleged rightful owner of the ticket, Jeff Smartt, stopped there as he and his ex-wife were on their way to Gatlinburg for the weekend.
“He can be seen walking into the store and purchasing the tickets alone,” said police detective Todd Rowland, who reviewed surveillance film from the store. “A few minutes later he can be seen coming back into the store and showing the clerk the ticket he had just scratched off. This time, his ex-wife was by his side.”
With the afterglow of having a winning $50,000 lottery ticket, Smartt and his ex-wife continued to Gatlinburg. However, upon their return to McMinnville, things went badly for Smartt.
“She just disappeared,” Rowland said, noting the winning lottery ticket vanished along with her. “He tried to get ahold of her, but she changed her phone number and then he heard she had been seen driving around in a new car.”
Suspicions were confirmed when it was found Milstead had cashed in the winning Jumbo Bucks lottery ticket and claimed the money. She even had her picture taken holding a large, cardboard check.
“It’s clearly Mr. Smartt who can be seen on the video buying the tickets and he was alone when he bought them,” Rowland said of the key piece of evidence against Milstead.
The money has reportedly all been spent, meaning that even should Milstead be found guilty, there is no assurance Smartt will ever see any of the cash.