Woman Facing 15 Years in Jail for Stealing $1million Lottery Prize

Woman Facing 15 Years in Jail for Stealing million Lottery Prize

21 Nov

A poker robbery of sorts has seen a New York woman facing 15 years in jail, Iris Amador Argueta arrested and charged with cashing in her own cousin’s $1million prize-winning New York Lottery Hold ‘Em Poker scratch-off ticket.

The sordid tale of alleged family greed came to light after Argueta was discovered to have lied to her cousin about how much had been won, telling him that the ticket purchased for $5 at a 7-Eleven in Glen Cove in October 2020, was worth only $20,000.

The cousin, in a bid to remain anonymous, claims he asked 32-year-old Argueta to cash the ticket for him, promising her a $50k cut of the windfall. Argueta apparently sent the winning ticket to the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), Covid regulations meaning that in-person claims were impossible.

Argueta claimed the lump sum option, cashing in winnings of more than $537,000, but then allegedly told her cousin it was worth much less – and forged paperwork from lottery officials to back up her tall tale.

That apparent attempt to hoodwink her cousin backfired when he saw the official New York Lottery press release that advertised the winning claim and massive payout.

That presser stated:

“Iris Amador Argueta of Herndon, Virginia has claimed a $1 million Lottery Scratch-off jackpot. Amador Argueta won her prize on a Hold ‘Em Poker scratch-off ticket.” The details were very specific, adding: “The winning ticket was purchased at 7-Eleven on Glen Street in Glen Cove. Amador Argueta opted to receive her prize as a one-time lump sum payment totaling $537,440 after required withholdings.”

Despite the unnamed cousin confronting Argueta with this evidence, the accused thief refused to hand over the money, threatening him with “legal consequences” if he continued to contact her.

At this point the police were contacted, and Detective Lieutenant John Nagle of the Glen Cove Police Department explained:

“Once the alleged crime was brought to the attention of the Glen Cove Police Department an investigation immediately commenced.”

The Glen Cove Police Department and Nassau County District Attorney’s Office revealed they have “recovered $317,825.46 in allegedly stolen funds from the defendant’s bank account which are being held.”

“Glen Cove Detective Eddy Linares worked tirelessly with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office investigating the allegations and gathering evidence. As a result of the joint investigation, the suspect was subsequently located and arrested.”

Acting Nassau County District Attorney Joyce A. Smith, stated:

“This defendant exploited her cousin’s trust, allegedly lying and manipulating him with the aim of pocketing the lion’s share of his $1 million winning lottery ticket for herself. Thanks to a great working partnership with the Glen Cove Police Department, we’ve recovered more than $300,000 in allegedly stolen funds and will vigorously prosecute this case.” Argueta has been charged on one count of grand larceny in the second degree (a C felony), and two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree (a D felony).

If convicted of the top count, the defendant faces up to five to 15 years in prison. Argueta is due back in court on November 23, 2021.

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