A Houston woman has been charged for allegedly stealing nearly $1 million in lotto prize money from her cousin.
The victim bought a New York State Lottery $5 Hold ‘Em Poker “scratch-off” ticket at a 7-Eleven on Oct. 28, 2020. When he scratched the ticket, it revealed a $1 million jackpot prize. ABC7 Chicago reported.
In order to maintain his anonymity, the victim persuaded his cousin, Iris Amador Argueta, to claim the prizes in exchange for $50,000.
Argueta drove from her home in Virginia to New York to collect the winning ticket and mailed it to the NYS Gaming Commission on Nov. 13, 2020, authorities said.
Argueta went to her cousin’s residence with fake paperwork claiming the prize was just $20,000 and only delivered him $13,436 in cash a few weeks later.
The victim later learned Argueta had actually claimed the $1 million prize and she had received a payout of $537,440 after taxes.
Argueta surrendered to police and was charged with grand larceny in the second degree and two counts of criminal of a forged instrument in the second degree.
So far, $317,825.46 in stolen funds have been recovered from Argueta’s bank account.
If found guilty, Argueta could face up to 15 years in prison.