Illegal Lottery Conspiracy Leads to Prison Time

Illegal Lottery Conspiracy Leads to Prison Time

( – In 2022, a federal jury convicted 29-year-old Yousef Jaafar and his father, 63-year-old Ali Jaafar, on counts of defrauding the IRS, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and filing false tax returns. The two men ran an elaborate lottery scam for a decade. Now, they are headed to prison.

On May 22, US District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton sentenced the two men. Ali received five years in prison, and Yousef just over four years. The two men will have to forfeit their profits from their scheme and pay restitution of $6,082,578.

According to prosecutors, the men conspired to buy winning lottery tickets at a cash discount from gamblers across Massachusetts who didn’t want the state lottery commission to know they’d won in order to avoid taxes and child support payments. They used convenience store owners to help them facilitate the transactions.

After buying the tickets from the real winners, they cashed them in with the lottery commission for the full amount. They would claim the ticket winnings on their taxes but then write off gambling losses to offset the taxes they would have to pay. They purchased more than 14,000 lottery tickets from 2011 through 2020 and claimed over $20,000,000 in winnings. The scheme resulted in the government losing more than $6 million.

In November 2022, Ali Jaafar’s other son, Mohamed Jaafar, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the IRS. His sentencing is set for July 25, 2023. Records show he was the third-highest in the state for cashing tickets. His brother, Yousef, was the fourth highest, and their father was the top ticket casher.

IRS Special Agent Joleen Simpson condemned the men for the crime. She said that instead of using their skills to “build a legitimate multi-generational family business,” they became scammers with a “vast network of coconspirators” to help them. While people often refer to tax code violations as ”victimless crimes,” law-abiding Americans are “harmed when someone tries to manipulate” the system.

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