NEW CITY, N.Y. — A plea agreement Friday in Rockland County Court has ended the case involving a Spring Valley, New York, immigrant's $3 million lottery ticket and three men accused of trying to steal a portion of it.
Elfido DeLaRoca will get about $2.5 million before taxes over the next 15 years, while the three men will avoid jail on a theft charge. One of the men will get $300,000 from the winnings.
DeLaRoca, 45, a Guatemalan national living with his fiancee and daughter, bought the $10 scratch-off ticket in Riaz Khan's Hickory Street convenience store in Spring Valley on Feb. 3, 2011. Atif Ali sold him the ticket. Mubeen Ashraf also works at the store.
DeLaRoca testified during a four-week trial last fall that the three men played on his fear of being deported and leaving his baby daughter behind and coerced him to sign over the lottery ticket ownership to Ali.
He told the jury they also had him sign documents, which included an agreement to split the winnings, in English when he didn't read or speak the language fluently.
During the first trial, defense lawyers argued DeLaRoca was told by state Lottery officials and others that he wouldn't be reported to immigration for living in the country illegally and that he could co-sign the winning ticket with Ali.
The defense lawyers also argued DeLaRoca brought the criminal charges to get out of an agreement to share 50 percent of the winnings if the men helped him. DeLaRoca testified he agreed to share 10 percent.
Under the deal, Ali pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor petty larceny charge for withholding money from DeLaRoca between February and June 2011.
County Judge William Nelson sentenced Ali to time served, the three months he spent in the county jail.
Ali had established a bank account into which nearly $500,000 in winnings was deposited from a company that advanced him money on the winning ticket.
Ali also gets $300,000 from DeLaRoca's winnings.
The grand larceny charges against Khan and Ashraf were dismissed.
The agreement means the three men will not be retried.
Their first trial ended with a mistrial in October when a 12-member jury could not reach a unanimous decision on charges that the defendants tried to cheat DeLaRoca.
Prosecutor Anthony Dellicarri told Nelson on Friday that DeLaRoca agreed to the plea deal, as well as a civil agreement dividing the money that Supreme Court Justice William Kelly signed Feb. 8.
"Only upon Mr. DeLaRoca's agreement with the arrangement was the offer made to Mr. Ali," Dellicarri said.
John Finnegan, the attorney for Ashraf, said: "We are very pleased by the District Attorney's Office decision. We think it was a courageous act. Mr. Ashraf is glad this is over."