A “Lottery Lawyer” and three associates were alleged of taking part in a multi-million scheme defrauding lottery winners.
A person claiming to be a “Lottery Lawyer,” and three co-conspirators were charged with fraud after being involved in a multi-million dollar scheme that took winnings from lottery champs.
The ‘Lottery Lawyer’ and Team
The individual involved is 46-year old Jason “Jay” Kurland. He positioned himself as an attorney that would assist lottery winners in protecting their snagged jackpot for many years to come, according to prosecutors. His associates are Christopher Chierchio, Francis Smookler, and Frangesco Russo.
A New York man who calls himself the "Lottery Lawyer" and three of his associates have been charged with defrauding lottery winners out of $107 million, funds they believed were being invested on their behalf https://t.co/G9FLFye254
— CNN (@CNN) August 20, 2020
The four persons were alleged in a scam that defrauded lottery winners. This was according to a federal indictment that was unsealed on Tuesday. The amount of money that was said to have been taken from three different clients amounted to $107 million per the indictment.
Different Kind of ‘Gamble’
The scheme was said to occur between April 2019 and this month, per the prosecutors. Court filing revealed that investigators managed to obtain calls from men that were alleged to contain their attempts of covering tracks. Kurland and his co-conspirators were charged with 21 counts, which include wire fraud and money laundering. They pleaded not guilty.
“The FBI New York discovered how these victims were persuaded to put large chunks of their cash into investments that benefited the defendants. Rather than try their luck at the lottery, these men resorted to defrauding… but their gamble didn’t pay off,” in a statement by FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr.
Smookler, who used to be a securities broker, and Russo were also charged with extortionate extension and collection of credit. They were accused of threatening to kill and torture the family of an individual over an unpaid usurious loan.
“Lottery winners can’t believe their luck when they win millions of dollars and the men we arrested… allegedly used that euphoric feeling to their advantage,” stated by Assistant Director-in-Charge of FBI Sweeney.
Prosecutors also alleged the defendants of spending the victim’s money for luxury. Kurland and Chiercho were accused of using money from the scheme to fund their own grandeur vehicles like Porsche and Cadillac Escalade. Russo and Smookler were said to invest part of the scheme money in a jewelry business.
According to Acting US Attorney for Eastern District of New Yorkm Seth DuCharme, who also announced the charges, “Defendant Kurland allegedly violated the law and his oath as a lawyer when he allowed co-conspirators to pillage his clients’ bank accounts for their own enrichment.”
CNN reported that defendants Kurland, Smookler, and Chierchio were released on bonds that amount to $1 million, $2.5 million, and $3 million, respectively. Meanwhile, Russo who was initially granted $2 million bond but was then the decision was reversed. He was ordered by the US District Judge to be detained. He was part of threatening people and was also found hiding a tactical shotgun under his bed.