Lottery Jackpot Heads to Medford Police

By Sharon Ko

MEDFORD, Ore. — The Medford Police Department has won big through a one million dollar lottery jackpot. But the police department is receiving this money through a criminal forfeiture.

Several years ago, Christina Goodenow stole her boyfriend’s deceased mother’s identity. She used the woman’s card to purchase a lottery ticket and ended up winning. Then, she got caught.

When police contacted Oregon Lottery, they said it didn’t matter that she won through illegal means. The case ended up going through Circuit Court and through the Court of Appeals. In the end, Medford Police won.

However, the Medford Police Department isn’t getting all of those dollars. 3% goes to the asset forfeiture account, 7% for a drug clean-up fund, 10% goes to the State of Oregon; 40% goes to drug prevention education and 40% goes to the Medford Police Department – that’s an estimated $400,000 in a 20 year period for the department.

“This isn’t a giant pot of gold that people think and predict this is going to be. This is nice, this is a good thing. There’s a reason it was a criminal forfeiture. It was lawful what we did,” says Medford Police Chief Tim George.

Chief George says, when you put it into perspective, the department needs $15 million a year to run. Plus, buying gear, such as guns and bulletproof vests adds up.

He says criminal forfeitures happens weekly through the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Agency. There is still a chance this case could head to the Oregon Supreme Court for an appeal.