PRESS RELEASE FROM ROCKLAND DA’S OFFICE
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugib has announced that Atif Ali (DOB 11/24/82) of 264 North Main Street, Apartment 1-D, Spring Valley, New York has pled guilty to:
One count of Petit Larceny, a class “A” Misdemeanor, relating to a lottery ticket scam.
On February 3, 2011, at approximately 11:30 p.m., the victim, an immigrant worker, purchased several scratch-off lottery tickets at a Village of Spring Valley convenience store, in which Ali was employed as a clerk.
One of scratch-off games purchased by the victim, “$3,000,000 Richer,” carried $3,000,000 in cash winnings.
As a jackpot winner, the victim was set to receive twenty annual payments of $150,000 each.
Even before the victim left the store, Ali contacted his friends, Riaz Khan (DOB 01/01/66) of 21 Barr Lane, Monroe, New York and Mubeen Ashraf (DOB 08/18/88) of 27 Barr Lane, Monroe, New York. Khan is the owner of the convenience store.
Ali, Khan and Ashraf persuaded the victim that cashing the winning ticket would jeopardize his immigration status, leading New York State Lottery officials to invalidate his winning game and push for his deportation.
Ali later presented himself to the New York State Lottery as the owner of the winning ticket and received an initial payment totaling $150,000.
Four subsequent payments, advanced through a funding company, were deposited directly into Ali’s bank account in June, 2011.
The defendants received over $500,000 in ill-gotten lottery winnings, leaving the victim who purchased the ticket with a windfall of zero dollars.
Ali, Khan and Ashraf were charged following an investigation conducted by the Rockland County Special Investigations Unit and members of the Spring Valley Police Department.
As a result, the $520,000 in winnings was frozen in the bank due to the forfeiture action brought by the District Attorney’s Office.
The case went to trial in September, 2012, ending with a deadlocked jury and the judge declaring a mistrial. The defendants had been scheduled to face a retrial this month.
After lengthy discussions between prosecutors, the attorneys for the defendants and the victim, an agreement was reached to settle both the criminal case against the three defendants, as well as the civil forfeiture action the District Attorney’s Office had commenced in Rockland County Supreme Court.
As part of the plea agreement, Ali was sentenced today to time served after having spent four months in the Rockland County jail. He also agreed to give up any claim to the remaining fifteen annual payments to be made by the New York State Lottery on the winning ticket.
The victim will receive over $218,000 in cash that had been held in the defendant’s bank account.
The charges against defendants Ashraf and Khan were dismissed.
Supervising Assistant District Attorney Anthony Dellicarri prosecuted the case.