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$2 Million Dollar Lottery Winner Still Using Food Stamps

$2 Million Dollar Lottery Winner Still Using Food Stamps

Lottery Winner


In the United States the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as the food stamp program, provides assistance purchasing food for low income families. The program was started during the great depression and since then millions of low income Americans have benefited from the program. Income requirements are stringent to prevent fraud. Despite all of the safeguards designed to prevent fraud many people with higher incomes are receiving. One of the most egregious cases involves a Michigan lottery winner.

In Auburn Michigan a man who won a $2 million dollar lottery jackpot playing the Michigan lottery game ‘Make me Rich.’ Leroy Fick, 59, of Bay County took home an $850,000 lump sum payout. Fick used the jackpot to purchase a new home and bought an Audi convertible. To buy groceries Fick is still using his so called ‘bridge card’ which is Michigan’s version of the food stamp program. The bridge card works much like a debit card and each month a certain amount is loaded onto the bridge card.

Since Fick’s case came to light many are questioning how a person who won such a large sum can continue to receive state benefits. Fick remains unrepentant and told reporters “If you’re going to … try to make me feel bad, you aren’t going to do it.” Fick’s lawyer says Fick’s actions are perfectly legal. Fick’s attorney, John Wilson of Midland, stated “He’s not trying to cheat the state. Based on his income, he’s eligible. He specifically called the Department of Human Services and said, ‘Can I still use the Bridge Card?’ and they said, ‘Yes,’ because he is eligible. He’s done everything right in the eyes of the law.”

A glitch in federal regulations allows Fick to continue to receive benefits. Michigan uses federal guidelines to determine eligibility and since Fick is unemployed and receives Social Security disability benefits his income qualifies Fick for the bridge card. Fick’s $850,000 is considered an asset not income. Under current state policy Fick can continue to receive food stamps despite the fact that he has hundreds of thousands in the bank.

Many are not pleased with Fick’s abuse of the program. State representative Charles Brunner is not pleased that Fick continues to receive benefits. Brunner stated “This angers me. It really makes me angry. The thing that really bothers me is [that] in our state we have so many people out of work…so many people in need of assistance, and for a lottery winner to get food stamps. If it’s a glitch in the law, we’ve got to fix it now.” Brunner has introduced legislation that would enable the state to factor in assets when determining eligibility for the food stamp program.

Fick’s lawyer said his client will stop using the bridge card if the legislature changes the eligibility requirements. He also said Fick feels no remorse for using food stamps because he just paid over $1 million dollars in taxes on his lottery jackpot.

Talk About Luck!

A Spanish woman who spent the weekend at home suffering from the flu was astounded to learn that she had won the Euro Millions lottery jackpot of £110 million. ($166,655,366 USD) The unnamed woman from Mallorca did not know of her good fortune until she was tracked down by lottery officials. The unnamed woman stated, “I was still sick on Monday so I decided to go to work out of fear of losing my job given the economic crisis we are going through.”

The woman purchased her winning Euro Millions ticket at the Black Cat lottery kiosk in Madrid. The kiosk reported brisk business as the Euro Millions jackpot rose to record levels. The woman beat odds of 76 million to one with winning numbers of 4, 23, 24, 29, 31 and two stars 8, 9. Countries participating in the Euro Millions lottery are, France, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Austria.

A Euro Millions official stated, “When she learned the news she was frightened and at the same time very, very moved. Logically she asked us many questions.” The woman did not indicate whether she would continue to work.

On the other side of the Atlantic Oregon resident Gordon Carnese was cleaning the globe box of his truck when he found an old Megabucks lottery ticket. Carnese bought the $5 quick pick ticket for the December 8, 2008 Megabucks lottery drawing. Carnese said he buys Megabucks tickets regularly but doesn’t always check the numbers right away.

After cleaning his glove box he took several tickets to a lottery retailer. The clerk gasped when the winning ticket was scanned. Carnese was stunned to find that he had won a $2.6 million dollar Megabucks jackpot. Carnese claimed the jackpot last week and chose 25 annual payments instead of a lump sum payout.

European lotteries have two features that set them apart from American lotteries. First, European lottery jackpots are not taxed heavily like they are in the US. Second, European lottery players are able to purchase lottery tickets online. European players can log on to individual lottery websites and purchase online lottery tickets using a home computer or mobile device such as a cell phone or blackberry.

Players appreciate the convenience that the ability to purchase lottery tickets online brings. No more trips to lottery terminals and no more standing in long lines when the jackpots are huge. European lotteries have moved into the 21st century and are now using the latest technology.

Three Winners to Split Mega Millions Jackpot

The multi state Mega Millions Lottery has not had a big winner for the past thirteen games sending the jackpot soaring to $225 million dollars. If a single person had won the jackpot it would have come close to a record Mega Millions win. It has been announced that three winners will split the $225 million prize giving each winner about $75 million dollars before taxes. The largest Mega Millions jackpot of $390 million was also shared.

The three big winners are from California, Ohio and Virginia and at present have chosen to remain anonymous. The winning numbers including the mega ball were 9, 16, 24, 40 and 43, and the mega ball number was 35. The winners are now in the enviable position of deciding on a lump sum payout or an annual check. Of course taxes will take a big bite out of the winnings but the split jackpot is still substantial.

In addition to the three big winners 21 players will receive $250,000 for matching the first five numbers and 96 players will receive $10,000 for matching four numbers in the Mega Millions lottery. The new Mega Millions jackpot will be $12 million dollars. At present the Powerball jackpot is the largest at $77 million.

Shawnee Lanes in Chillicothe Ohio will receive $75,000 for selling one of the Mega Millions lottery tickets worth $75 million dollars. Shawnee Lanes owner Walter Highland received a check from the Ohio Lottery last weekend. His son Pat Highland said some of the money would be used for annual renovations to be done this summer.
Many states now allow the sale of both Powerball and Mega Millions lottery tickets. States offering both mega jackpot lotteries hope to increase sales and lottery generated revenue. Many states have reported declining ticket sales due to the current recession and these states hope to retain old players and attract new lottery players. Many states were losing money to cross border sales and by offering both lotteries states hope to keep the money spent within their borders.

In addition several states are thinking about allowing players to purchase lottery tickets online. Players could log on to a state lottery website, purchase online lottery tickets and check for current results. It has been reported that many states are researching the possibility of online lottery ticket sales. Many lottery experts believe the future of lotteries is online.
Geraldine Williams from Lowell Massachusetts remains the largest single Mega Millions winner after winning $294 million.

Alaska Lottery Winner Goes Back on Promise

Last year there was outrage when a sex offender won a lottery in Alaska that was intended to help victims of rape and other sexually based crimes. Lottery winner Alec Ahsoak, a three time sex offender, won the $500,000 jackpot. When the winner was announced a local television station received an email stating that Ahsoak was a sex offender causing widespread anger.

Lottery winner Ahsoak was assaulted on a downtown Anchorage Street by a person wielding a tire iron or metal pipe. Ahsoak later said he would donate $100,000 to Standing Together Against Rape. Mr. Ahsoak has gone back on his promise and the Anchorage based charity said they had never heard from him said executive director Nancy Haag.

Ms. Haag said the group is looking forward and will not dwell on Mr. Ahsoak’s broken promise. Ms. Haag stated, “I know that probably in the moment he probably was very excited and probably thought he could do more with his money than he really was able to.”
Lottery winner Ahsoak, who kept $350,000 after taxes, has kept a low profile since the attack. Efforts to reach Ahsoak have been fruitless and no one is answering the door at the midtown inn where the lottery winner lives. Lottery operator Abe Spicola was the first to announce that Ahsoak intended to make the large donation after news about Ahsoak’s past surfaced.

Spicola, owner of Lucky Times Pull-Tabs lottery which operated the lottery said he does not want to bring any more hardship on lottery winner Ahsoak. He also said that people need to remember that perpetrators of sexual abuse often have been victimized themselves. Some of the parents of Ahsoak’s victims think that all of the money should go to his victims.
Spicola said that Lucky Times will sponsor another lottery to benefit Standing Together Against Rape. Hopefully history will not repeat itself.

Many states now check lottery winners against law enforcement databases for outstanding warrants, unpaid fines and back child support. Had this private lottery had the ability to check such a database this travesty probably would not have happened. Several states in the US are toying with the idea of allowing online lottery ticket sales. State lottery websites offering online lottery tickets could be easily connected to several law enforcement databases. Most lottery players have indicated they would welcome the ability to go on the internet and make an online lottery purchase. Hopefully lotteries will consider going online to prevent a repeat of the Alaska travesty.

UK Woman Receives Unusual Settlement From Sex Offender’s Lottery Jackpot

Back in January a sex offender won an Alaska lottery held to raise money for victims of sexual abuse. The citizens of Alaska were justifiably outraged and one man even assaulted the $500,000 winner with a pipe sending him to the hospital. A recent case in the UK reveals an astounding set of similar circumstances. Serial rapist Iorworth Hoare, 53, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1989 for an attempted attack on a 59 year old woman in Leeds.

In 2004 Mr. Hoare bought a lottery ticket while out on day release from Leyhill open prison in Gloucestershire and won a £7 million pound ($10,105,030 USD) lottery jackpot. The win enabled Mr. Hoare to purchase a £700,000 ($1,011,071 USD) mansion in Ponteland, Northumberland.

When one of his victims Mrs. ‘A’ heard of the lottery win she sued him for damages saying her life has been overshadowed by the vicious attack. In an astounding display of a lack of remorse Mr. Hoare argues that victims of sex attacks must make claims within six years. At the time of the attack Mrs. A had been advised that a lawsuit would be futile because of his lack of funds.

Mrs. A won a victory which could clear the way for other victims to file lawsuits. Mrs. A’s solicitors stated that an out of court settlement had been reached and the results would remain confidential. It is always heartening to read about a deserving person winning the vast riches that a lottery win can provide. It is equally disheartening to read about a criminal with no remorse winning a large lottery jackpot. Since the settlement was confidential one can only hope that Mrs. A received the lion’s share of Mr. Hoare’s ill gotten wealth.

In the United States South Carolina and several other states routinely check lottery winners against law enforcement databases for warrants, unpaid fines and back child support. If a lottery winner in those states is a convicted sex offender that would be known to lottery officials immediately. Some US states are also considering the sale of online lottery tickets. Players could log on to lottery websites, establish an account and purchase lottery tickets using a credit card, debit card or ewallet service.

The sale of online lottery tickets could allow lottery officials to notify victims of sex crimes so they can seek financial redress against their victimizers. Congratulations to Mrs. ‘A’ on her legal victory.

Bernie Madoff Brings Lottery Player Luck!

Bernie Madoff bilked friends and investors out of an estimated $50 billion dollars and was recently sentenced to prison for his crimes. While most of his victims will never be reunited with their money there is one person who had reason to thank Bernie Madoff.

Ralph Amendolaro, a construction worker from Queens New York saw Bernie Madoff’s mugshot on the front of a newspaper with is prison number and had an inspiration Mr. Amendolaro decided to play the last three digits of Madoff’s prison number in the New York State Lottery’s Number game. Madoff’s prison number is 61727-054 and it was 054 that won Mr. Amendolaro $1,500.
Mr. Amendolaro said “I’m going to be a winner with this guy even though everyone lost money with him. Somebody had to get a little lucky with him.” When asked what he planned to do with the money he said “I’m not going to invest it, put it that way!”

Playing numbers in the news is nothing new for lottery players. When a jet landed safely in the Hudson River recently, so many people played the flight number that the lottery had to suspend sales of that number. Lottery officials said that Mr. Amendolaro was not the only one playing Madoff’s prison number. When the number hit in March 15th’s drawings there were 501 winning tickets.

It is nice to see someone benefiting from Madoff’s fall. After all, $1,500 is probably what Madoff paid for one pair of shoes.

At least one person profited from Madoff’s crimes. Madoff stole billions from friends and ruined many lives in the process. Corrupt Wall Street insiders have also defrauded investors out of untold billions and basically looted the US economy causing the current recession. States hard hit by the recession are scrambling for ways to fill empty state coffers and adding lottery games is one of the strategies being tried. Several states now allow cross sales of tickets for both Powerball and Mega Millions in an attempt to attract new players and prevent the loss of revenue to cross border lottery sales. Previously states had to sell either Powerball or Mega Millions. Many states now offer both and by late 2010 most states will allow sales of tickets for both mega jackpot lotteries.

Some states are thinking about allowing players to buy lotto tickets online. In Europe players have been able to purchase lottery tickets for several national lotteries which basically amounts to an international online lottery. Several states are expected to implement the sale of online lottery tickets in the near future.

Unemployed German Man Wins the Lottery!

Unemployment has hit both Europe and the United States. Although most countries in the Euro Zone provide unemployment benefits families are struggling. A job loss can be devastating and causes a multitude of problems for the unemployed worker and his/her family. Despite the ongoing recession on both sides of the Atlantic or perhaps because of it many continue to buy lottery tickets in hopes of a big win.

In Germany one such lottery winner had just lost his job because of the global economic slump. The winner, a 40 year old bachelor said he was stunned to have experienced both bad luck and good luck in such a short period of time. The lucky lottery winner purchased a Toto-Lotto Lower Saxony ticket without any real expectations of winning.

The lucky winner commented of his good fortune saying, “It took my breath away. Now I can take my time looking for a new position and don’t have to just any odd job that presents itself.” The man said he was pleased and stunned by his 17.5-million-euro ($22.7 million USD) win. Despite the big lotto win the lucky lottery winner intends to continue working even though he won enough money to be comfortable for life.

The lotto firm said it would offer advice to the lucky winner on how to invest and spend the huge lotto win. The lotto jackpot was at 35 million Euros last week and attracted millions of players. The unnamed man will share the jackpot with another lucky lottery winner from Bavaria. Talk about arriving in the nick of time!

One of the best aspects of European lotteries is the fact that by and large jackpots are tax free. In the US taxes can easily eat up as much as 50% of a large lottery jackpot. US players usually have the potion to take a lump sum payout or payments spread out over a period of time. No matter which option is selected rest assured the tax man will come calling.

Most European lotteries allow the sale of online lottery tickets. In the US several states are looking into the possibility of offering players the option to buy lottery tickets online. Most surveys indicate that most players would welcome the ability to buy online lotto tickets. European lottery players have been able to buy online lotto tickets for years and allowing online sales has significantly boosted sales. Hopefully US lotteries will offer this option soon.

Sex Offender Wins Alaska Lottery

In a story stranger than fiction an Alaska sex offender has won a lottery whose proceeds benefit victims of sex offenders. The lottery winner Alec Ahsoak,  who according to the state sex offender registry was convicted in 1993 and 2000 for sexual abuse of a minor, came forward Saturday with the winning ticket for the $500,000 jackpot. Revenue from the Alaska lottery benefits Standing Together Against Rape in Anchorage, and advocacy group that offers support to sexual assault victims.
Nancy Haag, the group’s executive director stated, “It’s not how we had envisioned the story going.” According to the FBI Alaska has the highest per capita number of rape cases in the United States. Lottery organizer Abe Spicola told the Anchorage Daily News that Ahsoak, “was going to buy a house and said he was going to donate part of it to God, and, you know, charity.”

One of Ahsoak’s victims, justifiably angry said, “I don’t think he should get the money. I know that’s not up to me to say … it’s just not right that he would get the money. We’re still dealing with it and he gets to walk away with half a million dollars.” Ahsoak told KTUU TV on Saturday that he’s worked hard to turn his life around and has been in treatment for the past year.

In a further stunning development Ahsoak was attacked at a local mall and beaten with a pipe. A California man was arrested later on a felony assault charge in connection with the attack, which left Ahsoak with serious head injuries. Just before Ahsoak was assaulted, the attacker, accompanied by two women, approached him to ask if he was the person who won the $500,000 jackpot, according to police.

Los Angeles resident Brandon J. Hughes, 20, was arrested on charges of second-degree assault and tampering with evidence. As it turned out Hughes is wanted in California on a no-bail felony weapons warrant. In an astounding display of compassion Nancy Haag, executive director of Standing Together Against Rape stated, “Oh my God, I was so afraid something was going to happen to him, I’m just very sorry to hear that this has happened. … Nobody deserves to be a victim of any kind of violence, and that’s our stand.”

Some of Ahsoak’s victims and their parents have expressed an interest in suing him since he won the Alaska lottery, saying the money should go to his victims instead of benefiting a convicted sex offender. This has got to be one of the strangest lottery winner stories ever….stay tuned for further developments.

Recently it has been reported that some state lotteries check winners against law enforcement databases for unpaid fines, warrants and back child support. The sale of online lottery tickets could easily help law enforcement prevent a repeat of the travesty of justice that happened in Alaska.

Decisions, Decisions!

Members of a very lucky lotto syndicate in Piqua Ohio will split a $207 million dollar jackpot. The lucky players won the recent mega millions lottery and each will receive almost $13 million dollars apiece.

All the participants are employees of the city of Piqua Ohio and 14 of the lucky winners work for the city’s street department. Surprisingly all showed up for work Monday following the big lotto win. All the lottery winners were excited but some had mixed emotions about the win. City Manager Fred Enderle said, “They were excited, but some said it hadn’t sunk in yet and that trying to decide how to handle everything was causing a lot of anxiety. I met with everyone and told them to take a couple of days off to think about what they want to do.”

At present the workers have requested anonymity. Mr. Enderle said that some of the winners had stated a desire to return to work. “If they want to move on, we understand that too,” he said. Mr. Enderle declined to identify the departments where the other two winners work, saying it would be more difficult to maintain their anonymity.

The employees have been pooling their money for about five years, although not everyone participated in every drawing. Mr. Enderle also stated, “I’m sure everyone was happy for the group, but some folks probably will have to deal with feelings of being left behind because they didn’t put money in that one.”

Some of the winners have contacted a local attorney. Attorney John Hemm said he started receiving phone calls from several of the winners soon after he heard the winning lottery ticket was sold in Piqua. They will need to decide how to claim the ticket and have their financial arrangements in order before going to the Ohio Lottery Commission, he said.
Lottery spokesperson Sandra Neal said the winners must decide whether to accept a one-time cash payoff of $142.7 million or take $207 million in 26 annual payments of $7.9 million. “If it’s a group, they all have to agree on the type of payment,” she said. With the economy in a shambles we should all be so lucky to have to make that kind of decision!

It is always good to hear about hard working people winning a huge lottery jackpot against all odds. Because of the current recession many state lotteries have reported a serious decline in sales. In an attempt to boost sales and lure new players some state lotteries are thinking about offering online lottery tickets. Most players have indicated they would support such a move citing convenience as a major factor. A few states are expected to offer online lottery ticket sales as soon as 2010.

The Advantages of a Joining a Lottery Syndicate

Lottery players who are looking to increase their chances of winning should consider joining a lottery syndicate. Statistics show that almost 25% of all lottery jackpot wins are by lottery syndicates. Simply put a lottery syndicate is a group who enter into an agreement to collectively purchase lottery tickets and share the winnings.

Lottery syndicates are usually formed by workmates of a group of friends. Working together gives every member better chances of winning and at the same time ensuring that each person’s expenditures are kept to a minimum.

There is a downside to being a syndicate member. Probably the most obvious downside is the fact that the jackpot is shared among syndicate members. The larger the syndicate the less prize money each member receives. Most lottery syndicate members are aware of this fact when they join and are usually content with a partial share of the payout.

Lottery syndicate members should have a signed agreement to prevent any misunderstandings or chicanery. There have been many stories where a greedy syndicate member has been unwilling to share jackpot winnings with fellow members. If there is no signed agreement then serious problems could arise and each member could have to go to great lengths to provide evidence of the original agreement. It is highly recommended that any group of people considering forming a lottery syndicate have a legally binding contract drawn up.

There have also been instances of a syndicate member being denied their share of the payout because of a late payment into the lottery syndicate pool. Taxes can also be an issue. When the supervisor or leader of the syndicate ‘gifts’ the members, they could be liable for individual taxes even though the taxes have already been paid on the original lottery win.
Again, it is highly recommended that a legally binding agreement be drawn up when forming a lottery syndicate. Many states provide lottery syndicate forms and these are available at most lottery terminals in those states or can be downloaded online. There is no doubt that being a member of a lottery syndicate greatly increases the odds of winning and a well written agreement should eliminate any problems that may arise.

In 1998 members of a lottery syndicate in Ohio shared a jackpot of $165.5 million dollars among 13 members playing the Mega Millions! Each member walked away with a cool $12.5 million dollars. Despite the temptation all stated that they would continue working and would invest the money. Imagine what a lottery syndicate could do for you and your friends and workmates!

Lotteries are swiftly moving into the 21st century and some state lotteries have indicated they are exploring the possibility of online lottery tickets. Using the latest technology lottery syndicate members could keep track of purchased tickets online. In the near future most lotteries are expected to offer online lottery ticket sales and players can hardly wait!