A Portuguese immigrant in New Bedford, United States, complains in court of being the victim of a “theft scheme” by two women, related to a winning scratch card of four million dollars (3.6 million euros).
The complaint by João Luís DaPonte at the Bristol Superior Court reports that it was on November 23 that he scraped the winning ticket, from the Massachusetts state lottery, which wrote a value of “$ 4MIL”, an abbreviation for four million dollars in English, but due to lack of knowledge of the language, he believed that there were four thousand.
According to local newspapers, DaPonte asked Maria Oliveira, a resident of New Bedford, to take the scratch card and raise the money, believing that the woman provided this type of service to other winners, at the cost of a percentage.
Maria Oliveira reportedly gave only $ 3,800 instead of $ 4 million to the immigrant. According to the complaint, Maria Oliveira gave the scratchcard to the boss of the bakery where she works, Susana Gaspar, and the two “set up a scheme” to defraud DaPonte.
In the version of the complaint, Susana Gaspar pretended to be a winner on the Lottery Commission, where she signed and received the money and was given in the local newspapers as the second person to win the Massachusetts state lottery.
The accused Susana Gaspar will have chosen the cash payment option, which was equivalent to 2.6 million dollars, before taxes.
When she appeared in court, Maria Oliveira rejected all charges and declared that she did not receive the scratch card from the plaintiff and “never received money to raise lottery tickets for anyone”, adding that she never gave money to DaPonte.
An American newspaper writes that João Luís DaPonte learned on December 10 that a woman had won a four million scratch card bought at the same cafe and was “very surprised” that the prize came out right after he won a four thousand scratch card. dollars.
The man realized that he was the victim of a scam when he showed a photograph of the scratch card to a friend and he said that “$ 4MIL” means four million.
The lawyer representing the two defendants, Walter Faria, said in an interview that he doubts all the charges brought in the complaint and said that Maria Oliveira bought the ticket for Susana Gaspar, who signed the scratch card.
The lawyer found it difficult to believe some of DaPonte’s claims and added that the man and Maria Oliveira do not know each other.
“Why would I give a winning card to a stranger?” Asked the lawyer, adding that “it is difficult to imagine that another person (a family member or a friend) did not recognize that there were four million, not four thousand”.
The case is being investigated and there is still no date set for a hearing.