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Former lottery winner to appeal guilty verdict in Salem court

Union Leader Correspondent

October 12. 2017 9:24PM

SALEM — The attorney of a Massachusetts woman who won $1 million on a scratch ticket and was later accused of attempted theft said she will appeal the guilty verdict that came down this week.

Manchester-based attorney Patrick Arnold said the charge against Yokatia Rodriguez, 40, of Tewksbury, Mass., stems from a misunderstanding, “which is a common occurrence and can happen anywhere.”

“Ms. Rodriguez is pursuing her right to a jury trial on the charge, and looks forward to her day in Superior Court,” he said.

On Wednesday morning, Rodriguez was found guilty of attempted theft. She was sentenced to a fine of $2,000, although half the fine was suspended, as was the entire sentence of 30 days imprisonment.

Arnold said the entire sentence is vacated pending the appeal under court rules.

Rodriguez was arrested on Dec. 21, 2016, accused of attempting to steal approximately $80 in makeup from a Kohl’s in Salem after she was stopped by the store’s loss prevention officer, said Capt. Joel Dolan of the Salem Police Department. She was with her teenage son at the time.

Just a few months earlier, Rodriguez won the Massachusetts State Lottery’s “$2,000,000 50X Cashword” instant game, winning $1 million. After taxes, she collected $650,000.

The initial December charge of willful concealment was reduced to attempted theft in July. In a court document, Arnold successfully argued Rodriguez did not leave the store with the items in questions, thus not completing the act of theft.

All references to her at the Massachusetts State Lottery website are gone except for in a portrait index from 2016.

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