From Mega Millions To A Jail Cell. The Crazy Scheme Behind A $1.5 Billion Winning Lottery Ticket.

Everybody’s looking for a cut of the lottery even when they don’t win – or don’t even play.

Several people have been charged and/or indicted because of actions surrounding lottery sales in general, as well as a winning Mega Millions ticket – that one hit for $1.537 billion.

A USA Today story unwinds the tale.

First, the guy who gained fame by selling the ticket.

He’s Chirag Jayanti Patel, 49, of Greenville (S.C.) County, and he’d been busy with bad behavior long before the 2018 big ticket was sold.

Investigators say Patel evaded $123,044 in sales tax and failed to report more than $2 million in lottery sales from 2013-17, warrants show. Arrested and charged, he faces five counts of tax evasion, according to the state’s Department of Revenue.

The billion-dollar ticket was sold by his store in October 2018, according to lottery officials.

The winner asked not to be identified and collected a lump-sum payment of $877,784,124, officials announced in March 2019.

Another bad actor: Jason Kurland, the winner’s lawyer, was indicted on federal charges in 2020 and accused of more than $100 million in fraud — much of it against the lottery winner.

While the lump sum probably covers the misdeeds, the winner lost more than $70 million in schemes carried out by Kurland and some of his associates, according to the indictment and the letter.

And you had to figure this would be part of it: One of the four men charged is identified as a “soldier in the Genovese crime family.”

Back to the currently-in-jail store owner, who could face five years in prison plus five-figure fines.

Patel worked at KC Mart, which was to receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket.

“It’s a lucky store for me and them, too,” Patel said at the time.

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