Ex-Con Wins $60M in Texas Lottery

Wednesday, September 13th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Years ago, John Osorio spent time behind bars after embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from an insurance company's pension fund.

Now he's a multimillionaire, having won a statewide lottery.

On Monday, Osorio and a friend proudly but quietly displayed the $60 million winning ticket at Texas Lottery Commission headquarters before being whisked away by officials, who must validate the ticket before declaring it an official winner.

The jackpot was the third-largest in state history and the largest won by a single ticket. Because the pair chose the cash option, the prize is estimated at $21 million after taxes.

``There it is,'' a smiling Osorio whispered as he showed the Lotto Texas ticket to a reporter.

``We usually play Quick Pick,'' friend Lois Loden said as she sat in the prize claim waiting room. ``I told John that if we were ever going to win we were going to have to pick the numbers.''

Those digits: 1, 16, 36, 43, 44 and 52 were picked in Saturday night's drawing. The numbers were a combination of anniversaries and birthdays.

But Osorio, 78, wasn't always so lucky.

In 1972, he was convicted of embezzling $641,250 from an insurance company's pension fund and sentenced to three years in federal prison. He served 14 months. He had been the state's insurance commissioner from 1955 until 1957.

Houston developer Frank Sharp and former Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr also were charged in the scandal that resulted in new state political leadership and legislation that reformed campaign finance reporting as well as open records and open meetings laws.

Osorio's friends and neighbors were happy for his latest brush with publicity.

Winning ``couldn't happen to a more deserving guy,'' said friend Hector DeLeon. ``He's had some tough times in his life and he's always handled himself with grace, with style. He's always been a gentleman.''


On the Net:

Texas Lottery Commission: http://www.txlottery.org