A former Kansas City woman who stole more than $400,000 from a Missouri Lottery winner was sentenced Wednesday to five years in federal prison.
Freya Pearson, 44, of Conyers, Ga., was ordered to repay $441,830 to the victim, a 61-year-old former hospital housekeeper who won $2.4 million in the Missouri Lottery in 2008.
But because of Pearson’s scheme, the woman is now financially insolvent and had to take a reverse mortgage in order to keep her home, according to federal prosecutors.
After winning the lottery, the woman set money aside for taxes, bought houses for herself and a daughter and bought a car for another daughter.
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She then established an annuity to provide about $30,000 a year for the rest of her life.
But Pearson befriended the woman, convinced her she was a financial planner and got her to withdraw money from the annuity. Pearson spent much of the money on gambling, bought several vehicles and used it for travel and restaurants.
While taking the woman’s money, Pearson also fraudulently obtained federal housing benefits. She also failed to pay taxes on money she obtained from the victim.
Pearson went to trial in U.S. District Court in Kansas City last year and was found guilty of three counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering, one count of tax evasion and one count of making false statements to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.