18 Dec Undocumented Immigrant Allegedly Scammed After Trusting ‘Friend’ to Cash Winning Lottery Ticket
Winning lottery payments can be a life-changing event. Even if it’s not a Mega Millions jackpot, which can be taken as a lottery annuity settlement paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual lottery payments that grow by 5%, a few extra thousand dollars can go a long way for many people.
An undocumented immigrant living in Idaho won on an instant win scratch-off ticket, but unfortunately might not see any of that money, according to the nearby Salt Lake City, Utah ABC affiliate Good4Utah.com.
Santiago Gasca bought the lottery ticket from a convenience store in Malad, Idaho in November and was ecstatic when he discovered it was worth $40,000 in lottery payments. The only problem was his status as an undocumented immigrant. Under the impression he would not be able to claim the lottery ticket himself, Gasca enlisted the help of a friend, one of his wife’s coworkers who remained unidentified at the time of this writing.
“I say (to her) I give you $1,000 to cash the check,” said Gasca. “She was so happy, very nice, very good.”
Unfortunately for Gasca the thing she was really good at was lying apparently. Gasca went with the woman to claim the prize in Boise where, after taxes, lottery officials gave the friend a $27,000 check in her name. Although a hefty sum, the $40,000 was likely too low to have the option of lump sum versus annuity. Gasca reportedly then went with the woman later to a Midvale bank where she deposited the money into her account. That’s when the immigrant’s luck ran dry.
“She don’t give me the money,” said Gasca. “My wife called her and she told her ‘you are illegal.’ I say ‘what does that mean? You don’t want to give me the money or what?'”
It’s bad enough the government takes about 25% of lottery jackpot winnings; now there’s a chance Gasca won’t see any of his alleged winnings. The ex-friend won’t return his calls and there might not be a whole lot he can do about it.
“It was both legally obtained and legally claimed,” said Idaho Lottery spokesman David Workman. “Lottery tickets are bearer instruments. The person who presents it for payment and who signs it is the person who we end up paying.”
Local law enforcement authorities have said Gasca is still entitled to file a police report, but acknowledged it could be an uphill battle to prove he was the one who purchased the winning ticket.
The woman could not be reached for comment on the matter. About half (48%) of lotto winners are still working at their old job, which could make for an awkward workplace relationship for Gasca’s wife if the woman refuses to fess up.
Without solid evidence to support him Gasca can only hope that karma catches up to the woman he once called a friend. Considering the majority (70%) of lotto winners lose or spend all their money in five years or less, it’s certainly possible.