Iowa Lottery $30K Fraudster Told to Pay Back Winnings by Court 

In 2022, an Iowa woman cashed in a $30,000 winning lottery ticket bought by her housemate. It was done so they could avoid paying his $560 debt to the City of Evansdale, Iowa.

That decision led them to court several times since, as revealed in documents recently obtained by local Iowa media.

Sandra “Sandy” Crow (pictured) and Alvin Hans Larsen III have been found jointly liable for repayment of the full sum of the winning ticket, which Larsen bought in November 2022. 

Previously, both faced charges of misdemeanor lottery fraud. Crow was convicted in November 2023. Larsen was given a deferred judgement, assuming good behavior, over two years probation. 

Domestic Drama 

The pair were initially successful with their scheme. The winning ticket, legally purchased by Larsen, would be cashed by Crow to avoid his debts.

Crow presented the winning $3 Candy Cane Crossword Ticket at the Iowa Lottery offices. Days later, she was paid out and photographed with her giant check. She chose the $21,000 lump sum payout over the full amount in monthly payments. 

A month went by after the win, with authorities none the wiser. However, as often happens with lottery scammers around the U.S., their ability to get on with each other after their win was their downfall. 

In mid 2022, police were called to a domestic disturbance at the residence of Crow and Larsen. Once they arrived, the pair continued to argue about the money from the lottery win.

Police then questioned them about their falling out, and the pair separately confessed to officers how their dispute originated. 

“He begged me to cash it so he didn’t have to pay any money he owed,” Crow said at the time, according to the police report. 

No Right to Redemption 

In court, Crow’s lawyer, Kimberley DePalma, argued for a lower restitution amount, given the sentences already passed down and the genuine nature of the winning ticket itself.

She suggested a $560 fine. That was the original amount Larsen owed and attempted to dodge. 

“It is uncontested that the ticket involved in this case did validly win $30,000. There was no claim it was a fake or forged ticket,” DePalma wrote. 

However District Court Judge John Sullivan disagreed. 

“Crow had no legal right to possess or present the ticket for redemption. Thus, under the statute, was not entitled to receive the prize,” he wrote in his ruling.

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