Widow and daughter will split estate of poisoned $1 million lotto winner

Illinois Lottery via Reuters

Urooj Khan of Chicago is pictured holding his winning $1 million lottery ticket in this undated handout photo from the Illinois Lottery. Khan died of cyanide poisoning on July 20, 2012, and his death is now a homicide investigation.

The estate of a Chicago man who was poisoned to death right after he won $1 million on a scratch-off lottery ticket will be split between his widow and his daughter from a previous marriage, ending a fight in court.

The settlement was confirmed Thursday by a lawyer for the widow. The widow and daughter agreed not to sue each other for wrongful death unless a criminal investigation yields new information.

A medical examiner ruled in March that the lottery winner, Urooj Khan, was killed by cyanide poisoning. The medical examiner said that he could not determine how the cyanide was administered.

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Khan died in July 2012, just before he was to collect a check from the Illinois lottery for $424,000 — the winnings after taxes and after Khan chose a one-time payment. He did not leave a will.

His death was ruled natural at first, but a brother raised suspicions, and authorities tested fluids taken from the body before Khan was buried. Those fluids showed the poisoning.

In January, authorities dug up the body to do a full autopsy in hopes of finding further evidence, but the exhumation yielded no significant clues. The death is classified as a homicide, but investigators have been tight-lipped.

Under the settlement, the widow, Shabana Ansari, will get a third of the lottery money, and will keep three dry-cleaning shops that she owned with Khan. The Chicago Tribune reported that the shops are worth about $1 million.

The daughter, Jasmeen, will get the rest of the lottery money, plus five condominiums that were owned by Khan. Those are valued at about $250,000 together, The Tribune reported.

Al-Haroon Husain, a lawyer for the widow, told NBC News that he did not expect his client and the daughter to reconcile.

“I really wish they could,” he said. “There has been a death, and the death has been under unusual circumstances. Both sides are pointing fingers at each other. It’s very tough to reconcile.”

A lawyer for the daughter did not immediately return a call for comment.

Khan, an Indian immigrant, came to Chicago in the 1980s and opened his first dry-cleaning shop in 2004. He bought the lottery ticket at a Chicago 7-Eleven, scratched it off and said later that he was so giddy at what he found that he tipped the clerk $100.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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This story was originally published on Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:50 PM EST

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