Woman accused of stealing $ 1 million from Cousin’s bingo ticket

The phrase blood is thicker than water was put to the test in the case of Iris Amador Argueta, a 32-year-old Houston, Texas resident who was charged with robbery after allegedly stealing a million dollar lottery ticket from her Long Island-based cousin.

Argueta was named in a joint press release by the Glen Cove Police Department and Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. The victim bought the ticket at a 7-Eleven store in Glen Cove on Long Island and discovered that he had won $ 1 million from the scraper.

Seeking to remain anonymous about the case, the man turned to his cousin, Argueta, hoping she would agree to cash out the winnings in exchange for $ 50,000 in cash. Argueta did so and drove from Virginia, where she was living at the time, to Long Island and took the ticket.

However, she was unable to contact the New York Gaming Commission in person as all in-person ticket collections were prohibited. On November 13, 2020, she therefore sent the ticket by post, while waiting to collect the prize.

Argueta claims payment of the prize was a mistake

Eventually, Argueta returned to her cousin’s home, having recouped the winnings. Only, it was not the earnings that the cousin expected to receive. Argueta delivered a letter to the plaintiff claiming that the New York Gaming Commission had made a “mistake” and that the scratcher’s actual winnings were $ 20,000.

She then gave her cousin $ 13,436, which she said was all she had left after tax deduction. The scam would have taken place had it not been for the New York State Lottery press release announcing her as the winner of the million dollar prize, a usual process that can apparently be used in court. The letter turned out to be false.

The lottery usually allows the winners to choose how to get their winnings – one option is to seek a lump sum, which is subject to heavy taxation. The other is that the lottery pays you in installments over the years. Argueta chose the former, leaving him with $ 537,440 after tax.

The cousin quickly confronted Argueta who threatened to sue him. However, the anonymous complainant called the police. While police chose to continue using the term “suspected” to describe Argueta’s actions, his bank account, along with $ 317,825 of what authorities suspect were stolen funds, have been frozen.

If found guilty, she faces up to 15 years in prison. The plaintiff trusted his cousin, said Joyce Smith, acting DA of Nassau County. A trust that has been betrayed, she added. Smith confirmed that more than $ 300,000 in stolen funds had been seized.

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