Anyone shopping around lottery lawyers to represent them in case they win Friday’s $1.2 billion Mega Millions jackpot might want to scratch this guy off their list.
Jason Kurland, a Dix Hills man who was billed as one of the nation’s top lottery lawyers, was convicted this week of wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy in Brooklyn federal court. Among his victims was one of the first two winners of a Mega Millions jackpot to hit more than $1 billion — Friday’s being the third ever prize in that game to top 10 figures.
“He used his position as a lawyer — a profession founded on duties of honesty and loyalty — to steer his clients to invest millions of dollars in companies that he secretly owned and took illegal kickbacks based on his clients’ investments without their knowledge,” said Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Prosecutors said in addition to the Mega Millions winner, Kurland stole a combined total of more than $100 million from a $245 million Powerball jackpot winner, a $150 million jackpot winner, and others.
Kurland was a partner at the Uniondale-based law firm of Rivkin Radler, the largest law firm on Long Island, which said it was unaware of the allegations against Kurland until his arrest.
“We were taken by complete surprise by the allegations against Mr. Kurland,” said Laurie Bloom, the firm’s spokeswoman, who said the firm cooperated with investigators and Kurland was immediately removed as partner of the firm.
Kurland’s codefendants, who investigators said strong-armed victims into making payments with mob-like intimidation and threats of physical violence, all pleaded guilty.