updated 6/19/2008 11:45:55 AM ET 2008-06-19T15:45:55

The winner of last week's $57 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot is a registered sex offender who also pleaded guilty to two breaking and entering charges in the 1980s.

Fred Topous Jr., 45, was discharged from Michigan Department of Corrections supervision in October 2006.

The Kent City man traveled to Lansing on Tuesday to claim the prize from Friday's drawing in the multistate game. Topous chose to take the prize as a $34 million lump sum payment, before taxes.

Topous said he planned to buy a house, send his children to college and have some fun with his winnings. He said he and his wife work multiple jobs to make ends meet and thought they'd have to work till they died.

"I want to enjoy a little bit of life," Topous told state lottery officials. "We're plain folks. We've struggled all our lives."

According to the Corrections Department's offender profile, Topous pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual penetration in 1999 and pleaded guilty to breaking and entering charges in 1984 and 1988.

All three offenses occurred in Grand Traverse County. Prosecutor Alan Schneider said Wednesday that he wasn't familiar with the cases.

The Michigan Lottery told Grand Rapids television station WOOD that anyone can play the lottery except those under 18 and those who work for the agency.

"He's had some tough breaks," friend and co-worker Jan Westcott told The Grand Rapids Press. "I know some of his secrets, and he knows some of mine. I'm not going any further."

A telephone message was left with Topous on Wednesday night.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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