Texas woman pleads guilty to stealing her cousin’s million dollar winning scratch ticket
A Houston, Texas woman pleaded guilty this week to stealing a $1 million “scratch” lottery ticket from her cousin and receiving the $500,000 ransom in November 2020, according to the Nassau County, New York District Attorney’s Office. York.
Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnely announced the plea Friday in a press release, saying Iris Amador Argueta, 34, pleaded guilty before Judge Howard Sturim to second-degree robbery.
In return, Argueta should be sentenced to 16-48 months in prison on March 15, 2023.
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“This defendant believed she had hit the jackpot when she passed on her cousin’s $1 million winning scratch card for her property and demanded a lump sum payment of more than $500,000,” Donnelly said in the statement. “But her greedy actions also meant the end of her happiness, and now she will serve time in prison for her crime.”
A joint investigation by the Glen Cove Police Department and Donnelly’s office revealed that on October 28, 2020, the victim, Argueta’s cousin, purchased a $5 Hod ‘Em Poker scratch ticket to the New York state lottery from a convenience store at Glencove. the victim scratched the ticket, it revealed a prize of $1 million.
The prosecutor’s office said the victim had asked Argueta to claim the prize on his behalf to remain anonymous, promising $50,000 of the prize.
Argueta, who was living in Virginia at the time, agreed to claim the prize on behalf of the victim and traveled to New York to collect the winnings.
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At that time, however, the New York State Gaming Commission was not accepting winning tickets in person, so the Argueta sent the ticket to the commission on November 13, 2020.
Within weeks, Argueta reportedly went to hand over the NYS lottery papers to her cousin, who said the prize winnings were $20,000. Along with the paperwork, she gave her cousin an envelope containing $13,436 in cash and said the rest had been withheld for taxes.
The victim found a press release from the NYS lottery website that said Argueta had claimed the $1 million prize and received an after-tax ransom of $537,440, the prosecutor’s office said.
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The prosecutor added that the victim called Argueta, who said she had run out of money and would take legal action if she continued to call him.
In May 2022, Argueta lost $317,857.13 in winnings in his bank account, which was refunded to the victim.
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