Lottery recovers unpaid taxes and child support

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has recouped nearly $1 million in unpaid taxes and child support payments. State legislation passed the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Act of 2009, requiring the lottery to "cooperate in identifying debtors to owe money". So when prize winners with unpaid state taxes or child support payments come to get their winnings, those unpaid balances are taken out of their winnings. Since awarding its first prize on September 28, 2009, up to July 31, 2014, the Lottery has collected $688,243.84 in unpaid taxes. In the same time period, $296,382.22 was collected and transferred to the Office of Child Support Enforcement. Arkansas Scholarship Lottery director Bishop Woosley expects the lottery will easily surpass $1 million in total recouped funds by 2015. "(This) takes the burden off the tax payers, and certainly takes the burden off the children who need that child support," said director of public relations for the lottery, Patrick Ralston. Dan McDonald said even though the Office of Child Support Enforcement collects $300 million in child support every year, there is still $640 million dollars of unpaid child support in the state. "The state law right now says that if you owe over $10 thousand and haven't made a payment in over six months, we refer that to the prosecuting attorney," said McDonald in an interview last week. The lottery claims office in Springdale closes at the end of September and the offices in Camden and Jonesboro close near the end of November. After November, the Little Rock claims office will be the only place to claim lottery winnings.