Family squabbles can happen over just about anything, inheritance, attitude, lifestyle, even stealing from a family member. This particular case would fall under that "stealing from a family member" category and its not a small theft, either. There are a lot of layers to this story so I will do my best to make some sense of it. Basically, a cousin was asked by another cousin to mail in a winning $1 million lottery ticket which that cousin ended up stealing.

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This All Started in 2020

This case has apparently taken some time to get through the courts as the crime happened in November of 2020 when Iris Amador Argueta of Houston claimed her cousin's lottery winnings as her own. The unidentified cousin purchased the New York state lottery scratch off that turned out to be a $1 million winner. The cousin asked Argueta to claim the ticket because he wanted to remain anonymous. In return for the favor, the cousin would pay Argueta $50,000.

How Argueta Stole the Money

Argueta went to New York to claim the winnings in November of 2020. At this time, most offices were closed because of the pandemic. Argueta then mailed the ticket to the New York State Gaming Commission. After a few weeks, Argueta went to her cousin with the lottery paperwork. She claimed that the prize winnings were only $20,000 with the remainder being held to take care of the taxes and then handed her cousin an envelope with just over $13,000.

How the Cousin Found Out

The cousin later saw a New York State press release showing that Argueta had claimed the scratch off winnings and received a lump sum payment of $537,440. The cousin called Argueta but was told she didn't have any more money and threatened legal action if he called her again. The victimized cousin did receive a payment of $317,857.13 in May of 2022 after Argueta forfeited some winnings.

This defendant thought she hit the jackpot when she passed off her cousin’s $1 million winning ‘scratch-off’ ticket as her own and claimed a lump sum payout of more than $500,000. But her greedy actions also spelled the end of her luck, and now she will serve time in prison for her crime. - Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnely

Iris Amador Argueta has pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny and will began serving a 16-48 month prison sentence March 15 ( I have a feeling once is Argueta is out of jail, she won't be welcome at any family barbecue ever again.

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