A Texas woman accused of stealing $1 million in New York Lottery prize money from her own cousin has been arrested on Monday, Nov. 8.

Iris Amador Argueta, 32, of Houston, Texas, reportedly lied to her cousin who asked her to cash in his winning $1 million scratch-off lottery ticket, instead giving him bogus paperwork claiming that he had only won $20,000, and pocketed the rest of the lottery money herself instead, NBC New York reported.

Argueta's cousin, the lottery winner, bought a $5 "Hold 'Em Poker" ticket at a convenience store in Glen Cove on Oct. 28, 2020. This lucky ticket would go on to win the $1 million jackpot. The winner wished to remain anonymous and asked his cousin Argueta to cash in the winning ticket for him in exchange for $50,000.

Argueta agreed to the deal. She then drove to New York from Virginia to get the ticket from her cousin. She then mailed the ticket to the state Gaming Commission on Nov. 13, 2020, as the commission wasn’t receiving tickets in person due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

However, a few weeks later, Argueta appeared at her cousin's home with allegedly forged paperwork claiming that he had only won a lottery prize of $20,000. She gave him about $13,000 in cash and said that the state took the rest of the money in taxes.

Argueta's plan miserably failed when the winner found a press release that the state lottery had issued saying that Argueta had claimed the $1 million lottery prize, which had a lump-sum payout of $537,440 after taxes, Audacy reported.

When the winner contacted Argueta, the accused denied claiming the money and threatened him with legal consequences if he kept contacting her.

The authorities started an investigation into the incident after the cousin lodged a complaint against Argueta. Following this, Argueta surrendered to Glen Cove police on Monday, Nov. 8, and has been arraigned on grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument charges.

“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,” Joyce Smith, acting Nassau District Attorney said.

Argueta faces a maximum prison term of up to 15 years if convicted.

Meanwhile, Glen Cove police and the Nassau DA’s office stated that they have recovered almost $318,000 of the stolen lottery money from Argueta's bank account.

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