Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves a federal indictment of a lawyer who worked on behalf of a lottery.
A New York attorney who called himself the “Lottery Lawyer” has been charged with swindling millions of dollars from jackpot winners in a conspiracy that federal prosecutors say involved a member of the Genovese crime family.
An indictment unsealed Tuesday charges the attorney, Jason Kurland, with conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors say Kurland’s clients lost more than $80 million in the scheme.
Prosecutors claimed Kurland encouraged his clients to make large investments in entities run by Christopher Chierchio, described in court papers as a soldier in the Genovese crime family, former securities broker Frank Smookler and a fourth co conspirator named Frankie Russo.
Chierchio, Russo and Smookler all pleaded not guilty. Chierchio and Smookler were freed on multimillion dollar bonds; prosecutors are appealing a $2 million bond set for Russo.
Prosecutors also claimed Kurland, who also practices real estate law, had been entrusted to safeguard the lottery winnings, charging clients upfront fees between $75,000 and $200,000.
But he also received kickbacks, authorities said, for encouraging the jackpot winners to invest in dubious entities controlled by Chierchio, Smookler and Russo, who are accused of siphoning millions from those investments.
One of the victims won the $1.5 billion Mega Millions lottery, authorities said, while another had hauled in a $245 million Powerball jackpot.
Kurland pleaded not guilty and was released on $1 million bond. His defense attorney declined to comment on the indictment.
This information is provided on the behalf of Associated Press and the Washington Post and is not to be duplicated.