• Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

Feds say real estate exec defrauded investors in $19M lottery scam

Detroit — Federal prosecutors accused a Shelby Township real estate executive Thursday of defrauding investors out of $19 million that he spent playing the Michigan lottery, according to federal court records.

Viktor Gjonaj, 43, founder of Title Plus Title Services, was charged with wire fraud and accused of orchestrating a years-long scheme to obtain money from investors so he could buy as much as $1 million in Daily 3 and Daily 4 lottery tickets every week.

Gjonaj was charged in a criminal information, a type of charge that indicates a guilty plea is expected. The charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

“This case shows us that criminals may use sophisticated methods and apparently legitimate businesses, but their crimes amount to nothing more than stealing other people’s money,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement. “The defendant’s gambling harmed not just himself, but many other innocent victims as well.”