Lottery winner asks court for protection from relative

Published Sept. 19, 1996|Updated Sept. 16, 2005

In 1990, Alex and Rhoda Toth won more than $13-million in the Florida Lottery.

The Hudson couple, who had left the store with $24.76 after buying their ticket, feared their life would change after they began receiving $666,666 each year for 20 years.

"It is a lot of money," Alex Toth said at the time. "It creates a lot of pressure on you."

Tuesday, those words proved prophetic. Mrs. Toth begged a judge to bar her son and his girlfriend from coming within 1,000 feet of her or her daughter.

She said her son, 19-year-old Steven Moser, and his girlfriend, 18-year-old Jennifer Bottass, have threatened to kill her. And she suggested the pair may have killed the family's dog and burned a 1986 Corvette owned by her husband, who was disabled in a 1977 auto accident, according to court and Sheriff's Office records.

The dispute, records show, stems from money: This year or late last year, Moser and Alex Toth got into an argument over Moser's girlfriend. Moser left the house and Toth, his stepfather, cut him off financially.

"The whole thing is messed up," said Joseph Toth, 72, Alex Toth's father.

Moser's phone has been disconnected and the Toths did not return repeated messages left at their home. But interviews, sheriff's and court records tell the following story:

After the girlfriend dispute, Moser left the house to go live with a member of the girlfriend's family, the elder Toth said. At the same time, the stepfather decided to cut off the $500 per week in "pocket money" he had been giving his stepson.

Since August, records show, the police have had several contacts with the Toths.

On Aug. 19, Moser's sister, 16-year-old Tifany Moser, called to report her brother was making harassing phone calls.

She also claimed Moser tried to get into a fight with her at a gas station, then slammed the hood of her car down. Moser denied it and no charges have been filed.

On Aug. 30, records show, someone broke into the family's gated compound in Hudson and broke into two cars, a 1981 Corvette and a 1990 Camaro. The bandits took a 1986 Corvette, drove it to Bowman Road and set it on fire.

During this period, according to Rhoda Toth, both her son and his girlfriend began calling the house and making death threats. They also threatened to kill the family dog and burn the family's home and cars.

Last week, Moser was charged with violating a temporary domestic violence injunction obtained by Mrs. Toth, court records show.

"Someone is going to get hurt if it does not stop," Mrs. Toth wrote in her plea to the court.

Mrs. Toth at first claimed she was indigent when she filled out her court documents this month. The only sources of income she listed were monthly Social Security benefits: $444 for her and $944 for her husband.

Tuesday, after a hearing on the injunction orders before Judge Craig Villanti, she paid the filing fee. Villanti agreed to extend apreliminary ruling barring Moser and Bottass from physical contact with Mrs. Toth or her daughter.

All three parties appeared with their lawyers for the hearing. At their request, Villanti put off a decision on whether to issue a permanent injunction until next month.