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A $10 million lottery win can’t save Queens man from trouble with the law

Imran Mohammed is pictured at Resorts World Casino on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 in Queens, New York, after winning $10,000 a week for the rest of his life in a scratch-off game. (Debbie Egan-Chin / ϲʿֱ)
Imran Mohammed is pictured at Resorts World Casino on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 in Queens, New York, after winning $10,000 a week for the rest of his life in a scratch-off game. (Debbie Egan-Chin / ϲʿֱ)
Rebecca White
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

H​e won $10 million playing the New York State lottery just seven years ago but the cash didn’t help him win at the game of life.

Now Imran Mohammed is about to be sentenced to that included a wild car chase through Queens, the Daily News has learned.

Mohammed, now 36, was all smiles back in November 2017 when he posed for photographers. He’d been on his way to his construction work job when in Jamaica, Queens. It was literally the realization of a dream he had six months earlier in which he envisioned winning the scratch-off game.

He took his winnings in one payment — $5,036,617 after taxes.

“I just plan on working a little less,” he told reporters after his stunning win. “I plan buy a house, then buy a nice sports car. I just plan to go on with my life.”

But life quickly went downhill after that.

“We always read stories about people winning the lottery and their ,” Mohammed’s mother, Mala Rahman, 56, told the Daily News. “That’s what happened to Imran. Imran was so good. And then that happened.”

Yolanda Vega, right, presents a prize check to Imran Mohammed at Resorts World Casino on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 in Queens, New York. (Debbie Egan-Chin/ϲʿֱ)
Yolanda Vega presents a prize check to Imran Mohammed at Resorts World Casino Nov. 28, 2017 in Queens. (Debbie Egan-Chin/ϲʿֱ)

Mohammed, his mother said, fell in with the wrong crowd.

His lawyer, Todd Greenberg, said there is merit to the old saying that winning the lottery can be a curse.

“I believe a lot of people took advantage of him,” Greenberg said. “He got involved with drugs. Unfortunately, this is the result.”

Now he’s due in court on June 5, when it’s expected he’ll be sentenced to six years in prison, a law enforcement source said.

Mohammed’s troubles didn’t start with his big win. He’d had two brushes with the law before he became a winner at the .

In June 2007, he was charged with assault, accused of slashing someone at a nightclub, police said. And in 2011, he was charged with possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a shotgun and brass knuckles. The disposition of those cases is not clear.

But in July 2018, a mere seven months after lottery officials introduced him to the public, he was in trouble again.

Mohammed, police said, fired a gun from his car at a man he knows during a confrontation on 91st Ave. near 168th St. in Jamaica. The target, 33, was not hit and Mohammed was busted a week later, charged with attempted murder, gun possession and reckless endangerment.

The case was sealed and the victim was issued an order of protection.

But the second chance didn’t do much good, with Mohammed three weeks later accused by the same man of purposely ramming into his car at . in Corona — then cursing him out while waving a handgun around, according to the criminal complaint.

Mohammed eventually pleaded to weapon possession and was sentenced to five years probation in November 2020, authorities said.

But he violated the terms of that probation when he was arrested on Feb. 21, 2023, following a wild high-speed chase that started when police tried to pull him over on Jamaica Ave. near 107th St. in Richmond Hill for a license plate infraction.

Imran Mohammed is pictured at Resorts World Casino on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 in Queens, New York, after winning $10,000 a week for the rest of his life in a scratch-off game. (Debbie Egan-Chin / ϲʿֱ)
Imran Mohammed at Resorts World Casino Nov. 28, 2017 in Queens after winning $10,000 a week for the rest of his life in a scratch-off game. (Debbie Egan-Chin / ϲʿֱ)

According to the criminal complaint, Mohammed sped off in his Toyota minivan, driving at least 50 mph before crashing one-and-a-half miles away on the service road for the Van Wyck Expressway.

He jumped out of his vehicle, the complaint says, then made his way down an embankment and onto the expressway, with numerous drivers dodging him as he ran from one side to the other before falling to the ground.

“I have a gun,” he told police, the complaint says, though he had tossed it during the car chase, with police finding it on a lawn on 104th St. after reviewing video.

His mother said police matched the DNA on the gun to her son and that he busted bones in his hand and fractured his ribs not because he fell to the ground but because he was struck by a passing car.

Inside the minivan, according to the complaint, police found ecstasy and oxycodone pills as well as heroin and cocaine.

Imran was ordered held without bail and has been on ever since. He pleaded on April Fools’ Day to attempted weapons possession.

Mohammed’s mother said there was a point where he was in rehab in New Jersey and was doing well.

Imran Mohammed is pictured at Resorts World Casino on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 in Queens, New York, after winning $10,000 a week for the rest of his life in a scratch-off game. (Debbie Egan-Chin / ϲʿֱ)
Imran Mohammed at Resorts World Casino Nov. 28, 2017 in Queens after winning $10,000 a week for the rest of his life in a scratch-off game. (Debbie Egan-Chin / ϲʿֱ)

After that, he relapsed in late 2022. His marriage has fallen apart, the mother said, and he misses regularly seeing his three children — who are now 10, 9 and 8.

“His kids are his life,” his mother said. “That really broke him.”

His stepfather, Sheik Rahman, 56, said Mohammed’s spiral was in sharp contrast to the man he had been, a person with “one of the biggest hearts you can find,” someone who would routinely give food and coffee to homeless people he encountered.

The arrest, his mother said, punctuated the sharp fall from the day he told her he had won all that money.

“At that point in time we were really struggling,” she said of his life-changing windfall. “The first thing my son did, he paid off my mortgage. And he [left] a note for me. He says, ‘Happy Birthday. Happy Mother’s Day.'”

“He had all the right intentions,” she added.  “Unfortunately, he got strayed away.”

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