Family Reportedly Operated Massachusetts’ Largest Ever Lottery Fraud Scheme

Family Reportedly Operated Massachusetts’ Largest Ever Lottery Scheme

( – In August 2021, federal prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts charged Ali Jaafar and his two sons, Mohamed and Yousef, on several counts of filing false claims to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), one count of conspiring to launder money, and a single count of conspiring to defraud the IRS.

Charging documents accused the three family members of conspiring with others to purchase winning Massachusetts Lottery tickets from the actual winners at a discounted price, a practice known as “ten-percenting.” Typically, individuals involved in this scheme pay between 80% to 90% of the value of the winning tickets.

The winning ticket holders profit from getting a large percentage of their tickets’ face value and avoid paying taxes on their winnings. Additionally, Massachusetts Lottery officials deduct any past-due child support or taxes before turning over money.

Between 2011 and 2019, the family of ten percenters presented the winning tickets to the Massachusetts Lottery Commission and collected their total value. Then, they offset those earnings by listing “purported gambling losses” on their IRS returns to avoid paying federal income taxes. Additionally, due to the improperly claimed losses, the three family members received more than $1.2 million in tax refunds for losses they never sustained.

However, by mid-2023, all three men received prison sentences and other penalties for their crimes. Here’s what happened.

Family Busted for Massachusetts Lottery Fraud Scheme Sentenced

In early November 2022, Mohamed Jaafer pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the United States. US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton accepted the plea and scheduled the defendant’s sentencing hearing for early March. However, that date was pushed forward for unknown reasons.

On July 25, Gorton sentenced Mohamed Jaafer, 31, to six months imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release. He also ordered the defendant to pay nearly a million dollars in restitution.

In early December, a federal jury handed down guilty verdicts against Ali Jaafar and Yousef Jaafar for one count each of filing a false tax return, conspiracy to launder money, and conspiring to defraud the IRS. The first charge carries a sentence of up to three years imprisonment, the second up to 20, and the third — up to five.

On May 22, Gorton sentenced Ali Jaafar, 63, to five years in prison and Yousef Jaafar, 29, to 50 months (four years and two months). He also ordered them to forfeit their profits from the scheme and to pay more than six million dollars in restitution.

Local Media Provides Additional Insight Into the Scheme

On October 24, the Boston Globe published an article providing some insight into the scope of the Jaafars’ crimes. According to the newspaper’s research, they operated the largest Massachusetts Lottery scheme in its 52-year history.

The Globe also analyzed a six-month period, during which the Jaafars claimed almost two million dollars in winnings. To take in earnings at that rate legitimately would have required the three-man crime spree to purchase nearly 23,000 instant tickets per day, 24 hours a day — or 16 every minute.

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