Just about everyone dreams about hitting it big on the mega jackpot. Some people get crazy lucky while others manage to find effective loopholes using their extensive knowledge on statistics, mathematics and economics. Then there are those who straight up bribed lottery employees into doing their bidding. What they all have in common is that they beat the lottery system in order to win big. Here are five examples of innovative people who did just that.
1. Zhao Liqun, 2005
Zhao Liqun is a Chinese man who ran three lottery stores for the Chinese Welfare Lottery. It didn’t take long for Zhao to find a loophole by purchasing tickets within five minutes after the winning numbers were announced. Over the following two years, Zhao managed to accumulate an impressive 28 million yuan or $3.76 million, using his friends and neighbors as fronts to cash in the winning tickets. His ruse eventually came to an end after officials noticed that the tickets and the claimants did not match. The government seized his properties and he is currently serving a life-long sentence.
2. Jerry and Marge Selbee, 2003
Jerry and Marge Selbee made millions by exploiting the Michigan WinFall lottery for nearly eight years. The couple realized that they could make more money through the lottery’s roll-down where the jackpot was shared among people who picked five of the six winning numbers if no one got all six. Upon their first attempt, the duo made hundreds of thousands of dollars then set their eyes on the Massachusetts Cash Winfall. After eight years of scheming, Jerry and Marge were finally busted but were not charged since they technically didn’t break the law.
3. Remmele Mazyck, 2009
Remmele Mazyck, a deputy security officer for the Arkansas Lottery, took advantage of his position in order to make some fast cash. Lottery organizers often handed out free tickets for promotional purposes which Mazyck was supposed to distribute. But he kept them all for himself to increase his chances of striking gold with the winning numbers. The scam came crashing down in 2012 and after a lengthy investigation, Mzyck was sentenced to 37 months in prison and had to pay over $482,000 in restitution.
4. A Criminal Gang and Several Blindfolded Children, 1998
The 1998 Italian lottery scandal involved a criminal gang who rigged the system by bribing the children who selected the balls. They were blindfolded and had to pick the balls from a metal basket. But the crooks trained the children to select the balls that were bigger and smoother. And to make matters more suspicious, the children were all related to the employees of the finance ministry for the lottery. The entire operation came tumbling down once everything came to light.
5. James Harvey, 2005
James Harvey was a brilliant MIT student who, along with 50 other MIT students purchased $1,000 worth of roll-down tickets. His reasoning was that the lottery was designed so that $1.20 in prize money was paid for every $2 ticket which increased by 30 cents for every $2 ticket during roll-downs. Harvey made $3,000 in return and started taking more risks until he was caught red-handed by The Boston Globe who had him investigated for fraud.
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