A woman from Texas admitted to a criminal offense and is looking at a maximum of four years of imprisonment for taking her cousin’s lottery jackpot. She stole a total of $1 million in New York lottery rewards, according to authorities.
On Friday,34-year-old Iris Amador Argueta admitted to second-degree grand larceny after taking a winning scratch-off ticket from her relative in November 2020. She claimed more than half a million dollars of the prize money, as per a press release from Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.
In October 2020, Argueta’s cousin purchased a New York State Lottery $5 Hold ‘Em Poker scratch-off ticket and was surprised to find he was the winner of a $1 million jackpot prize, according to an official press release.
The district attorney’s office reported that the cousin requested Argueta to redeem the successful lottery ticket for $50,000 so that he could stay anonymous.
At the time of the win, Argueta was living in Virginia. She and drove to her cousin’s house to collect the winning ticket. She then sent it in to the New York State Lottery to claim her prize.
Rather than taking the money as installments, Argueta chose the one-time lump sum payment of over $537,000, which was announced by the lottery officials in December 2020.
Argueta falsely informed her cousin that the lottery ticket had only earned a prize of $20,000. She gave him an envelope with $13,436, claiming that the rest was taken out for taxes. Additionally, Argueta presented her cousin with falsified documents from lottery officials confirming the reduced amount.
The victim was unaware of his cousin’s stolen win until he came across a press release from the New York State Lottery. The release revealed that the cousin had been announced as the victor of the $1 million dollar prize and had already been rewarded with more than half a million dollars, according to the district attorney’s office.
After seeing the press release, the victim contacted Argueta. She told him that there was no additional money available from the winnings. To keep him off of her trail, she also warned that if he continued to reach out, he would face legal repercussions.
In November 2021, Argueta was arrested in Texas. In May, she relinquished an amount of $317,857 from her bank account, which was then given back to her cousin.