The cousin promised Argueta $50,000 for claiming the prize, which she agreed to. After mailing in the winning ticket to the New York State Gaming Commission due to COVID-19 protocols, Argueta told her cousin the prize amount was only $20,000, according to the release.
She allegedly showed him fake paperwork to back up her story and gave him $13,436 in an envelope, according to the release, saying the rest would be kept for taxes.
The press release indicated Argueta had cashed in on the winning lottery ticket and received a lump-sum payout of $537,440 after taxes. The cousin called Argueta to confront her and she denied having any additional money and threatened legal consequences.
Her cousin then went to the police, and she turned herself in on Monday on charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree. She faces 5 to 15 years if convicted.
Police were able to recover $317,825 from Argueta’s bank account, and she’s due back in court on Nov. 23.