Of course it's not! No one gives out that kind of money. And legitimate raffles or price drawing are either free or only require you to purchase something, complete a survey, or similarly minor and non-invasive practice in order to gain entrance to the drawing. There is nothing minor about an almost $2,000.00 entrance fee.
This is a scam that is intent on taking your money and running with it. Likely, they will also take your personal information, including credit card, bank account and personal identity information and run with that too.If you respond at all, you've already put yourself at risk as they are phishing for personal information including, name, bank account, email address, mailing address, and anything else they can get their hands on.
These kinds of scams become very popular during times of recession, like the one that we have very recently experienced. People are suffering and desperate for money. These types of circumstances make them more likely to look into or participate in something that they would at any other time in their lives recognize for what it is - a blatant attempt to take advantage of people.
This particular scam, which has been making its rounds via email lately, looks somewhat authentic, which makes it even harder for the unknowing and desperate public to recognize it as illegitimate. The message arrives with a name, Robert Richards, as the prize authority, and comes from what looks like a real company and address, specifically, Data Release Division, East Meadow, New York.
Don't be fooled. No matter how legitimate the whole thing may look, it is nothing but a scam intended to steal money from trusty and hopeful individuals. Even if they can't get money from you through you writing a check or paying with a credit card for the "release fee," they are looking to get something from you in other ways. This could be your identity or could be access to your email account. Either way, you should just mark the message as spam and move on.