A father and son will go to prison for a $20 million lottery scheme

MASSACHUSETTS-A Massachusetts father and son were sentenced in federal court on Tuesday for a scheme that saw the pair illegally claim more than $20 million in lottery winnings and lie on their tax returns to dodge more than $6 million in federal taxes, prosecutors said.  Ali Jaafar, 63, was sentenced to five years in prison while his 29-year-old son Yousef Jaafar was sentenced to 50 months in prison, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said in a news release. They were also ordered to pay over $6 million in restitution and forfeit their profits from the scheme.  In December, the two were convicted of one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count each of filing a false tax return.  “This case is, at its core, an elaborate tax fraud. Over the course of a decade, this father-and-son team defrauded the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission and the IRS to pocket millions of hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars,” Acting US Attorney Joshua S. Levy said in the news release. “These defendants worked together to recruit a wide network of co-conspirators and spread their lottery scam across Massachusetts, avoiding detection by repeatedly lying to government officials.”

  Valerie S. Carter, an attorney for Ali and Yousef Jaafar, told CNN in an email Tuesday it’s “the Jaafars’ intention to appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.”
Mohamed Jaafar, another of Ali Jaafar’s sons who was also involved in the plot, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to defraud the IRS and will be sentenced in July. CNN has reached out to his attorney for comment.  The men represented three of the top four individual lottery ticket cashers in the state in 2019, according to the US Attorney’s Office.  “This case is an example of the extensive efforts the Lottery will take in partnering with law enforcement to assist in the prevention of illegal activities. This decision is the culmination of years of hard work to maintain the integrity of the Lottery,” said Deborah B. Goldberg, state treasurer and receiver general and chair of the lottery commission.
 “From at least 2011 through at least June 2020, the Defendants conspired with others known and unknown to the grand jury to launder the funds from Massachusetts state lottery winnings of others,” an indictment for the three said.
The men would buy winning lottery tickets from people across the state who wanted to sell their ticket for a cash discount instead of claiming their prize, the US Attorney’s Office said in its news release.
That meant the real winners avoided identification by the state’s lottery commission, which is required to “withhold outstanding taxes, back taxes and child support payments” before paying the prize, the release said.

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