Jason Kurland of Long Island, NY, scammed winners out of over $100M in all, prosecutors say
A Long Island attorney who bills himself as the “lottery lawyer” ran a mobbed-up scheme to bilk jackpot winners out of more than $100 million in prize money, Brooklyn federal prosecutors alleged Tuesday.
Jason Kurland, 46, cultivated clients from across the nation, including a $1.5 billion Mega Millions winner, and promised to invest their winnings — but instead threw their cash into shady investments run by reputed Genovese crime family soldier Christopher Chierchio and two other associates, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District said.
Kurland allegedly got kickbacks for steering the money to Chierchio, 52, and his partners, who funneled a portion of the lottery winners’ money back to them under the guise that they were “interest payments” on their phony investments. But the “winners” ended up losing.
The attorney, who oversaw the scam from 2018 until this year, skimmed $107 million from the unsuspecting investors, prosecutors alleged.
The money instead funded the scammers’ lavish lifestyles — which included pricey vacations, private jets, and even two yachts, the feds claimed.
“Lottery winners can’t believe their luck when they win millions of dollars, and the men we arrested this morning allegedly used that euphoric feeling to their advantage,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said in a statement Tuesday.
“The FBI New York discovered how these victims were persuaded to put large chunks of their cash into investments that benefited the defendants,” Sweeney said. “Rather than try their luck at the lottery, these men resorted to defrauding the victims to get rich, but their gamble didn’t pay off.”