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Spokane businessman pleads guilty to stealing $1 million in lottery winnings from Oregon woman

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 12, 2017

The federal building in Richland, Washington, is seen in this undated photo from Google. (Google)
The federal building in Richland, Washington, is seen in this undated photo from Google. (Google)

A Spokane-based investor pleaded guilty in federal court last week to bilking an Oregon widow out of $1 million in lottery earnings.

Scott K. Brett, 55, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. District Court Judge Salvador Mendoza on Friday in Richland. Brett faces a potential prison sentence of a little more than four years and must pay at least $855,000 in restitution to the victim, who is identified only by initials in court records.

Investigators allege Brett promised the widow he’d take $1 million of her $18.3 million earnings in the Oregon lottery and increase it eightfold over the course of two months. The woman, who met Brett through her son, according to court records, wired him the money in February 2011 but quickly requested it be returned.

To date, Brett has only returned about $145,000 in several payments, prosecutors said. Prosecutors have asked that he forfeit assets to make up the rest.

Brett had dealings in Lebanon, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, to construct “a green technology research and development business park” and had an interest in buying land on Five Mile Prairie in the late 1990s.

Roger Peven, Brett’s appointed attorney, declined to say what happened to the money the woman turned over to his client, saying that would come out as part of sentencing scheduled for April 28 in Richland.

“It was an investment situation that didn’t pan out as he’d hoped,” Peven said of his client.

Court records in Spokane County showed Brett had racked up significant debts, including a roughly $185,000 judgment against his company, CoreTech Industries, which had a business address in Spokane.

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