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ABC duped by Powerball lottery winner hoax

PowerballPowerball: ABC duped by Powerball lottery winner hoax

The brief hoax involving a man claiming to be an out-of-work truck driver who won the $365 million Powerball jackpot was months in the making.

It involved two men who have jerked the chains of the national news media for years and was financed by a Texas author seeking publicity for his books, one of the pranksters said Tuesday.

"We had decided that one of these days, there'll be a record jackpot, and we'll have to go," said Bob Pagani, who portrayed the unemployed man who spent $2,000 on Monday buying food for everyone at a Lincoln restaurant.

Pagani said he is a former disc jockey and book editor who lives near Pacific City, Ore. He confessed Tuesday to the hoax but said he felt no guilt.

"We spent a lot of money buying people's lunches. They had a thrill. . . . Nobody got hurt," he said. "It's kind of like a magic trick - a magician lies to you."

Pagani walked into a Village Inn on Monday afternoon, announced that he was the winner and bought a round of meals. The news media were apparently summoned by a restaurant employee. "Good Morning America" and "World News Tonight," among others, did on-camera interviews with Pagani.

Pagani said the hoax was hatched in conjunction with Alan Abel, a Connecticut prankster and drummer who started staging hoaxes in a 1959 appearance on the "Today" show, according to his Web site.

"Every once in a while, he has a wild hair," Pagani said.

He said the timing was per-fect because of the Presidents Day holiday. It closed the Nebraska Lottery office, delaying any official announcement. Because it was a record jackpot, a news media frenzy seemed guaranteed.

The hoax started falling apart as reporters questioned discrepancies in Pagani's story, including how the ticket was purchased. He said he chose the numbers, but lottery officials said the winning ticket was a computer-generated "Quick Pick."

Pagani said he flew in from Oregon on Sunday night and drove to Lincoln on Monday. Two other people, who said they were Pagani's son and niece, also flew in.

Pagani said Joe Vitale, who identified himself as an Austin, Texas, author, financed the hoax - paying for the airline tickets and two nights of motel stays in Omaha, as well as the $2,000 for all the meals at Village Inn.

Before he flew home Tuesday, Pagani said he gets the same thrill from hoaxes as someone who collects stamps.

"With this, I can say I was in the New York Times, the Washington Post and on Good Morning America."

Omaha World-Herald

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57 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by GoldenLife.
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Bethesda, Maryland
United States
Member #16901
June 6, 2005
446 Posts
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Posted: February 22, 2006, 1:06 pm - IP Logged

2/22/2006

Is it something in the AIR, THE WATER, OR THE CROPS....that made these idiots help put this scam together???????....only in America..........

    emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

    United States
    Member #14
    November 9, 2001
    31353 Posts
    Online
    Posted: February 22, 2006, 1:08 pm - IP Logged

    pretty stupid.  Hit With Stick

    love to nibble those micey feet.

     

                                 

      Avatar

      United States
      Member #6676
      September 3, 2004
      95 Posts
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      Posted: February 22, 2006, 1:10 pm - IP Logged

      Every idiot gets his 15mins of fame!! Kudos...Cheers

      now leave. . . .

       

      --winner2b

        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
        mid-Ohio
        United States
        Member #9
        March 24, 2001
        19828 Posts
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        Posted: February 22, 2006, 1:19 pm - IP Logged

        Before he flew home Tuesday, Pagani said he gets the same thrill from hoaxes as someone who collects stamps.

        "With this, I can say I was in the New York Times, the Washington Post and on Good Morning America."

        Sounds like  Pagani gets a thrill from running his big mouth and telling lies to make national news.  When he compares it to collecting stamps, he's also lying to himself and believing it.

         * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
           
                     Evil Looking       

          Raven62's avatar - binary
          New Jersey
          United States
          Member #17843
          June 28, 2005
          49758 Posts
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          Posted: February 22, 2006, 1:25 pm - IP Logged

          LOL! ROFL

          Maybe it's time someone or group of someones played a prank on the pranksters!

            Avatar
            Atlanta
            United States
            Member #15989
            May 24, 2005
            183 Posts
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            Posted: February 22, 2006, 2:02 pm - IP Logged

            You know, I don't agree with people getting mad, it actually is funny if it can be pulled off. As he said, a magician does magic. Kinda like Bill Clinton not having sexual relations with Monica, the guy writing the book Oprah supported, and George Bush and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Those things are still debated, covered in the media, and this guy just had his time in the limelight. It is not worth getting bent out of shape over. And before anyone jumps on me, NO, I do not condone lying. This is a prank, plain and simple.

              truecritic's avatar - PirateTreasure
              Michigan
              United States
              Member #22395
              September 24, 2005
              1583 Posts
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              Posted: February 22, 2006, 2:27 pm - IP Logged

              Pagani said he is a former disc jockey

              While this prank didn't fall under the "disgusting" category, I have seen/heard several pranks pulled by disc jockeys that are disgusting.  Something should be done to those DJs to keep their pranks in the "suitable for families" range.  Not that Howard Stern pulls pranks but I was all for the fines he got.  That is what should happen to other DJs too.

              Common sense.  Common decency.  That is what should keep people from doing things like this. 

              Other than that, do we write up a law banning pranks?

               

                Avatar
                Atlanta
                United States
                Member #15989
                May 24, 2005
                183 Posts
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                Posted: February 22, 2006, 2:38 pm - IP Logged

                I agree Truecritic, some of those are pretty bad and hurtful. This guy hurt no one, 200 people received a free meal, and the press jumped too quickly. Simple as that. The press received the "Dewey defeats Truman" award.

                  Avatar
                  USA
                  United States
                  Member #1849
                  July 15, 2003
                  265 Posts
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                  Posted: February 22, 2006, 3:50 pm - IP Logged

                  I love seeing the media duped. It's great. The media knows nothing or less than nothing and half the time they claim to know the truth. When they get duped it's a very funny day in my book. The media should do it's homework rather than try to sensationalize everything and everyone. The media is really the big scam artist here, don't feel sorry for them, if they researched the truth rather than publish the quick tabloid headlines everyday then they would find that the ruth cannot be hidden, it can always be found. Cheers,

                    konane's avatar - wallace
                    Atlanta, GA
                    United States
                    Member #1265
                    March 13, 2003
                    3333 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: February 22, 2006, 5:19 pm - IP Logged

                    I love seeing the media duped. It's great. The media knows nothing or less than nothing and half the time they claim to know the truth. When they get duped it's a very funny day in my book. The media should do it's homework rather than try to sensationalize everything and everyone. The media is really the big scam artist here, don't feel sorry for them, if they researched the truth rather than publish the quick tabloid headlines everyday then they would find that the ruth cannot be hidden, it can always be found. Cheers,

                    I Agree!  Get the headline first, don't be concerned with accuracy. 

                    The lazy MSM got exactly what they deserved this time. Big Grin

                    Good luck to everyone!

                      Avatar
                      Sparta, NJ
                      United States
                      Member #18331
                      July 9, 2005
                      1977 Posts
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                      Posted: February 22, 2006, 5:46 pm - IP Logged

                      I wonder if ABC hired the former Dan Rather fact checkers from CBS?

                      Maybe it's time someone or group of someones played a prank on the pranksters!

                      People love to see this sort of thing.  Look how much Sterm is getting to make fools out of any American with ethics and integrity.  The American public is paying him to do what he does.

                       Not that Howard Stern pulls pranks but I was all for the fines he got. 

                       Actually, Stern did not pay a penny.  His organization, and his insurance company, paid all the fines.  Its like fining a Pro-football player $50K, then paying him $25M to show up.  Write it of as an uninsured loss.

                       

                      Cheers

                      |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

                      I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

                        fja's avatar - gnome1

                        United States
                        Member #91
                        January 19, 2002
                        11931 Posts
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                        Posted: February 22, 2006, 6:57 pm - IP Logged

                        I love seeing the media duped. It's great. The media knows nothing or less than nothing and half the time they claim to know the truth. When they get duped it's a very funny day in my book. The media should do it's homework rather than try to sensationalize everything and everyone. The media is really the big scam artist here, don't feel sorry for them, if they researched the truth rather than publish the quick tabloid headlines everyday then they would find that the ruth cannot be hidden, it can always be found. Cheers,

                        I Agree!  Get the headline first, don't be concerned with accuracy. 

                        The lazy MSM got exactly what they deserved this time. Big Grin

                        I'd have to agree...News isn't really news anymore...It's what they heard someone say........Thats all they print or show........That and Paris Hilton!

                          Avatar
                          Indiana
                          United States
                          Member #29196
                          December 29, 2005
                          280 Posts
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                          Posted: February 22, 2006, 6:58 pm - IP Logged

                          Well I have no love for jokers, tricksters, game players and con artists but with regard to ABC (OR any other media outlet) getting duped all I can say is...KEWL!

                          Jim 


                          Money frees you from doing things you dislike.  Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.  - Groucho Marx

                            truecritic's avatar - PirateTreasure
                            Michigan
                            United States
                            Member #22395
                            September 24, 2005
                            1583 Posts
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                            Posted: February 22, 2006, 7:03 pm - IP Logged

                            The media knows nothing or less than nothing

                            So, you don't like the media?  The ones that provide 99% of the news that you hear, see or read?

                            if they researched the truth rather than publish the quick tabloid headlines everyday then they would find that the ruth cannot be hidden, it can always be found.

                            REALLY?  Just where does that truth pop out?  Over the fence talking with a neighbor?

                            Chewie

                            Thanks for pointing that out to everyone that didn't know that the broadcasting companies get the fine.  Seems like I remember Stern getting a personal fine as well?  Regardless, the gist of all my comments are that people shouldn't behave badly in public just because they can.