CINCINNATI -- Kevin Lewis has had a heck of a year.
Seven months ago, he had $1 million in his pocket and a big smile on his face.
He had neither Wednesday, though, when he stood before a judge and avoided going to prison for drug convictions when he was placed on three years of probation.
"I regret what I did," Lewis, 52, told Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Jerome Metz Jr., "but I take full responsibility." Lewis declined to speak to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
In August, Horseshoe Cincinnati Casino awarded Lewis $1 million as part of loyalty rewards programs for regular customers. But when casino officials discovered they awarded the money to the wrong Kevin Lewis – both are the same age and live in Cincinnati – it let him keep the $1 million and gave the "right" Kevin Lewis another $1 million.
In December, the "wrong" winner was arrested on drug charges and quickly told police he sells marijuana. He also had pills and other illegal drugs on him when arrested on charges that could have sent him to prison for 5½ years.
Lewis pleaded guilty earlier this month to possession of drugs and trafficking in marijuana in exchange for prosecutors dropping two similar charges stemming from his Dec. 19 arrest near his Corryville home.
After he pleaded guilty, the judge, in a typical move, ordered Lewis to talk to court workers about his life so the judge had context on Lewis before imposing a sentence. Lewis told them the $1 million was gone, much of it spent paying the bills of others.
Lewis worked in inventory control for the Hyatt hotel, his attorney Alvertis Bishop Jr. said Wednesday in court. That meant he kept track of the forks, blankets, pillows and other hotel property.
A 2012 left hip replacement, though, left Lewis disabled – and hooked on painkillers. That's why Lewis was involved in drugs, Bishop said.
But the judge noted Lewis has three other drug convictions – in 1986, 1989 and 1990 – and has been to prison.
Lewis is now disabled and doesn't work.
In addition to sentencing Lewis to probation, the judge also ordered him to get his high school equivalency degree, undergo drug and alcohol testing and suspended his driver's license for two years.