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"Lottery Lawyer" Jason Kurland charged with robbing jackpot winners of millions

Aug 18, 2020, 6:48 pm

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Self-branded New York attorney is accused of stealing millions from his clients

By Kate Northrop

The self-titled "Lottery Lawyer" attorney who advised dozens of significant jackpot winners across the country is now being charged by New York federal prosecutors for stealing millions of dollars from his clients.

Jason "Jay" Kurland has been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering in an indictment revealed today.

Prosecutors are estimating that Kurland stole more than $80 million from his clients throughout his long-running scheme. One of his victims won the record-breaking $1.5 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot in 2018, the second-largest jackpot to-date and the largest payout to a single player ever. Another winner he stole from won a $245 million Powerball jackpot in 2018. The cumulative winnings of all his victims over time amounts to about $3 billion.

Kurland has represented players from every corner of the nation, even appearing on national television to offer advice to lottery players everywhere.

"The biggest mistake people make is doing it on their own," he said of winning a big prize in 2019. "All the horror stories you hear is when people do it on their own."

An ironic statement, given the context.

According to prosecutors, Kurland advised the lottery winners to invest in entities managed by co-conspirators, which included former securities broker Frank Smookler, Christopher Chierchio, who is supposedly a big-name player in a Genovese crime family, and Frankie Russo.

Gerald J. McMahon, Chierchio's defense attorney, dismissed these accusations as fraudulent charges and claimed that his client was not involved in organized crime.

"If he were not Italian, there would be no accusation of this nature," he stated.

For pushing jackpot winners to invest in the co-conspirators' entities, Kurland was allegedly rewarded some of the cash. On the other end, Smookler, Chierchio, and Russo siphoned money from the investments.

Prosecutors described the schemers' lavish lifestyles in court documents, saying that they "profited handsomely" from their crimes and enjoyed the luxuries of "flying private jets, taking exotic vacations, buying boats, paying country club dues and even 'wrapping' luxury cars."

"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. "The FBI New York discovered how these victims were persuaded to put large chunks of their cash into investments that benefited the defendants. 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."

Thanks to Raven62 for the tip.

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57 comments. Last comment 29 days ago by Artist77.
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GiveFive's avatar - Lottery-026.jpg
NY State
United States
Member #92605
June 10, 2010
4750 Posts
Offline

Self-branded New York attorney is accused of stealing millions from his clients

By Kate Northrop

The self-titled "Lottery Lawyer" attorney who advised dozens of significant jackpot winners across the country is now being charged by New York federal prosecutors for stealing millions of dollars from his clients.

Jason "Jay" Kurland has been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering in an indictment revealed today.

Prosecutors are estimating that Kurland stole more than $80 million from his clients throughout his long-running scheme. One of his victims won the record-breaking $1.5 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot in 2018, the second-largest jackpot to-date and the largest payout to a single player ever. Another winner he stole from won a $245 million Powerball jackpot in 2018. The cumulative winnings of all his victims over time amounts to about $3 billion.

Kurland has represented players from every corner of the nation, even appearing on national television to offer advice to lottery players everywhere.

"The biggest mistake people make is doing it on their own," he said of winning a big prize in 2019. "All the horror stories you hear is when people do it on their own."

An ironic statement, given the context.

According to prosecutors, Kurland advised the lottery winners to invest in entities managed by co-conspirators, which included former securities broker Frank Smookler, Christopher Chierchio, who is supposedly a big-name player in a Genovese crime family, and Frankie Russo.

Gerald J. McMahon, Chierchio's defense attorney, dismissed these accusations as fraudulent charges and claimed that his client was not involved in organized crime.

"If he were not Italian, there would be no accusation of this nature," he stated.

For pushing jackpot winners to invest in the co-conspirators' entities, Kurland was allegedly rewarded some of the cash. On the other end, Smookler, Chierchio, and Russo siphoned money from the investments.

Prosecutors described the schemers' lavish lifestyles in court documents, saying that they "profited handsomely" from their crimes and enjoyed the luxuries of "flying private jets, taking exotic vacations, buying boats, paying country club dues and even 'wrapping' luxury cars."

"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. "The FBI New York discovered how these victims were persuaded to put large chunks of their cash into investments that benefited the defendants. 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."

Thanks to Raven62 for the tip.

How long will it be until we'll see this story on "American Greed"?  G5

Players who've won large lottery jackpots have something in common. Many of them say "I've played the lottery for years, but I never won anything but small prizes."   That's normal or typical, but it's also why you should not get discouraged and stop playing.  Who knows?  Maybe someday you'll say "I've played the lottery for years...."

    Avatar
    Billionaires Row 57th street Manhattan
    United States
    Member #197346
    April 9, 2019
    5091 Posts
    Offline

    What ???? Ha ha ha ha

    Thief in so called gentleman’s clothing ha ha ha ha

    So I said to my people, slow the testing down pleeeease 🤪🤪🤪

      andl's avatar - hSk1nCp

      United States
      Member #193182
      October 22, 2018
      17 Posts
      Offline

      Will the identity of the 1.5 billion dollar win be revealed in court? How do you conceal that?

        hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

        United States
        Member #52343
        May 21, 2007
        3286 Posts
        Offline

        😒why am I not surprised by this story ??

        and even worse b4 Virginia became an anonymous state, I was going to call this guy Crazy

          lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

          United States
          Member #118605
          November 4, 2011
          1429 Posts
          Offline

          So much for "trust me I will help you". 

            lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

            United States
            Member #118605
            November 4, 2011
            1429 Posts
            Offline

            So much for "trust me I will help you". 

            "The lottery winners paid between $75,000 and $200,000 in upfront payments to hire Mr. Kurland and his law firm, according to court papers. Mr. Kurland then charged monthly fees of between $15,000 and $50,000". 

            After persuading the lottery winners to invest, the four men then spent some of the funds on golf club memberships, yachts, private jets, a Porsche and other luxury cars and shopping sprees at stores like Fendi, prosecutors said.

            Law enforcement officials had been wiretapping the men’s phone calls for months, including conversations in which they discussed whether they might go to jail.

              gr8ter's avatar - 026bbc
              Oh
              United States
              Member #92932
              June 17, 2010
              2155 Posts
              Offline

              "The lottery winners paid between $75,000 and $200,000 in upfront payments to hire Mr. Kurland and his law firm, according to court papers. Mr. Kurland then charged monthly fees of between $15,000 and $50,000". 

              After persuading the lottery winners to invest, the four men then spent some of the funds on golf club memberships, yachts, private jets, a Porsche and other luxury cars and shopping sprees at stores like Fendi, prosecutors said.

              Law enforcement officials had been wiretapping the men’s phone calls for months, including conversations in which they discussed whether they might go to jail.

              Greed will catch up with these wolves in sheeps clothing.  May these winners recoup their money.  It stinks that you don't know who to trust.

              We are Millionaires!!

                Avatar
                Louisiana
                United States
                Member #191895
                August 27, 2018
                656 Posts
                Offline

                Gasp

                Thud

                Twitching in a Grand Mal Seizure

                Yikes

                I was going to use him, If I ever won big

                All number sets are contenders until the drawing occurs.

                  Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
                  Little Rock, AR
                  United States
                  Member #68363
                  December 19, 2008
                  250 Posts
                  Offline

                  Why would anyone be taking investment advice from a lawyer?

                    TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
                    Brooklyn, NY
                    United States
                    Member #169719
                    October 29, 2015
                    1490 Posts
                    Offline

                    Greed will catch up with these wolves in sheeps clothing.  May these winners recoup their money.  It stinks that you don't know who to trust.

                    “Lottery Lawyer” and Three Co-Conspirators Indicted in $107 Million Scheme to Defraud Lottery-Winning Clients

                    Taken from Justice.gov

                    Department of Justice
                    U.S. Attorney’s Office
                    Eastern District of New York

                    The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

                    “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

                    Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

                      Avatar
                      Florida
                      United States
                      Member #171215
                      January 3, 2016
                      173 Posts
                      Offline

                      I am glad this happened. This is supposedly why you want to use a huge law firm when claiming a JP, to reduce chances of snake-isms like this.

                       

                      I, also, was going to at least consider using this guy, however, I would have passed on investment advice, especially giving him access to my $$$.

                       

                      Judging by the company he keeps, JK probably would have had me whacked for that!

                        TheGameGrl's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                        A long and winding road
                        United States
                        Member #17083
                        June 10, 2005
                        6488 Posts
                        Offline

                        Firm believer in handling your own finances. Allow your tax advisor to handle the irs paperwork. Beyond that be your own advocate for sound investments.

                        0330,4600,8757,2886

                          KY Floyd's avatar - lysol avatar.jpg
                          NY
                          United States
                          Member #23834
                          October 16, 2005
                          4262 Posts
                          Offline

                          "The lottery winners paid between $75,000 and $200,000 in upfront payments to hire Mr. Kurland and his law firm, according to court papers. Mr. Kurland then charged monthly fees of between $15,000 and $50,000". 

                          I've always figured that those claiming on behalf of winners and putting their names out there for the public would have to deal with the annoyances the winners would avoid by concealing their own identities, and they deserve to be compensated for that. At the same time I've always been under the impression that this guy  was charging more than he should. Even in a Long Island office 50k per month is enough for a full time staff of 5 to answer the phone and throw away the mail, and still leave something for the lawyer that's not dealing with the hassles. I also figured that smart clients would use him once, then look for a certified financial planner and a different lawyer to deal with ongoing stuff.

                          "This is supposedly why you want to use a huge law firm when claiming a JP, to reduce chances of snake-isms like this."

                          Powers of attorney and signatories to the bank accounts are the first step in protecting your money. It's not completely fool-proof, but another good step is paying for advice by the hour and using well-established companies with well-known names for the actual investing.

                          There's a lawyer in MA who has represented a few MA winners (not sure about any from out of state), and I recall an article in which he said he just charges for his actual time to create a trust and claim the prize. Figuring he'd catch some of the hassles I  thought he  should probably charge more, but I've  always had the impression he might be a good guy to handle the claim process. And while using a competent lawyer from a firm of any size is good for taking care of the basic process, I think they should find a nondescript guy with a name like John Smith who lives in a very large city (with plenty of other John Smiths) to be the name (and face, if necessary) that the lottery releases to the public. No reason to make it easy for the general public to find an address or phone number to pester.

                            Avatar
                            Simpsonville
                            United States
                            Member #163184
                            January 22, 2015
                            2262 Posts
                            Offline

                            Wow.    New York doesn't play and they'll pay dearly.

                            May have to look up to see where Bernie Maddov (spelling) ended up with his white collar Ponzi schemes.  That Pharmacy rip off artist that raised the price of a drug that was 15 years old by over 700% was recently in the news.   He wanted a cell phone in the prison so he could conduct more business, also from NY.