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Review: Vultures feast on desperate lottery winners

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Review: Vultures feast on desperate lottery winners
3.52
Rating:

Money for Nothing is a glimpse into a seedy business few will ever encounter.

Edward Ugel writes about the trade of preying on bottomed-out lottery winners, crazy for cash to meet their growing debts, waiting for their next annual annuity check to arrive from the state coffers.

His tale is a colorfully written account by a self-proclaimed overweight, chain-smoking, Krispy Kreme doughnut-eating, fanatical gambler.

For just shy of a decade starting in the late 1990s, Ugel says he worked in an industry that sold money to lottery winners. In exchange, winners signed over a portion of their long-term annuities. The cash Ugel doled out to down-on-their-luck winners was far less than the face value of the annuities. And Ugel says, at one point, he made lots of dough in commissions by providing this service.

You will lick your chops, eager to hear the sordid woes of winners gone broke from spending sprees. There are sad tales here, all right, but it has all been fictionalized. In the introduction, Ugel states he has "a legal obligation to keep certain details of my employment confidential. Among other things, I have changed every name, win amount, and win state, as well as certain descriptions of lottery winners with whom I've worked in order to protect their identity."

Forty-two states plus Washington, D.C., have lotteries. Today, most lotteries now offer winners the choice of taking their prize in a lump sum to invest themselves or as a traditional long-term annuity. Not surprisingly, the vast majority take the lump sum. For future winners, this is a worthy cautionary tale.

Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions by Edward Ugel; Collins, 256 pages, $24.95.

Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey
Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions
by
Edward Ugel; Collins, 256 pages, $24.95.

Discounted at Amazon.com. $24.95 $16.47 You Save: $8.48 (34%) Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.

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16 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by tnlotto1.
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Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
Chief Bottle Washer
New Jersey
United States
Member #1
May 31, 2000
23260 Posts
Online
Posted: September 24, 2007, 11:54 am - IP Logged

This sounds like a fascinating book.

 

Check the State Lottery Report Card
What grade did your lottery earn?

 

Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
Help eliminate computerized drawings!

    AuntiePat's avatar - animaniacs10
    Just outside of Cleveland, OH
    United States
    Member #54079
    August 3, 2007
    106 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: September 24, 2007, 3:19 pm - IP Logged

    I don't know whether this late night ad appears other places but in the Northern OH television markets an ad appears with a man urging anyone with a "structured settlement or annuity" to contact them for cash.  The company is JD W*ntw*rth and they have already converted one winner's lottery annuity (with 8 or 9M left on it) to a settlement of  not quite 2M.  Somehow there are lottery winners out there (thank gooodness in the minority) who either haven't received good advice (most state's lottery commissions have information that is available to any large winners who accepts it) or have received good advice and chosen not to follow it. 

    These financial services are sharks that prey on those lottery winners like David Edwards who allowed their winnings control them and get in over their head.  Thanks, Todd, for bringing this book to our attention--I, for one, intend to read it ASAP.

    One of the invaluable services that this site performs is by challenging people to THINK about what would happen if one of us would catch lightning in a bottle and win a large jackpot.  With all the "What would you do if. . ." scenarios that are discussed and commented upon in the forums, I feel pretty confident that any contributor to this site would be pretty wary about moving too fast and without some wise financial advice were they to win a lottery jackpot.

      JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

      United States
      Member #4121
      March 23, 2004
      817 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: September 24, 2007, 6:18 pm - IP Logged

      I think this book is going to be a best seller.

        Avatar

        United States
        Member #10720
        January 23, 2005
        933 Posts
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        Posted: September 24, 2007, 9:38 pm - IP Logged

        Sorry, I got stuck on the word "doughnut".

          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
          Chief Bottle Washer
          New Jersey
          United States
          Member #1
          May 31, 2000
          23260 Posts
          Online
          Posted: September 25, 2007, 12:33 am - IP Logged

          Sorry, I got stuck on the word "doughnut".

          That's the correct spelling, is that what you meant?  ("Donut" is also correct, but a bit more slang.)

           

          Check the State Lottery Report Card
          What grade did your lottery earn?

           

          Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
          Help eliminate computerized drawings!

            jeffrey's avatar - moon
            Hamilton, OH
            United States
            Member #4162
            March 27, 2004
            277 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: September 25, 2007, 12:40 am - IP Logged

            Sorry, I got stuck on the word "doughnut".

            I know what you mean. I have lost 110 pounds and havent seen a donut in a year. It sounded yummy. Don't touch the principle. That's how money gets old.Thud

              Avatar
              MI
              United States
              Member #20229
              August 14, 2005
              59 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: September 25, 2007, 7:45 am - IP Logged

              I don't know whether this late night ad appears other places but in the Northern OH television markets an ad appears with a man urging anyone with a "structured settlement or annuity" to contact them for cash.  The company is JD W*ntw*rth and they have already converted one winner's lottery annuity (with 8 or 9M left on it) to a settlement of  not quite 2M.  Somehow there are lottery winners out there (thank gooodness in the minority) who either haven't received good advice (most state's lottery commissions have information that is available to any large winners who accepts it) or have received good advice and chosen not to follow it. 

              These financial services are sharks that prey on those lottery winners like David Edwards who allowed their winnings control them and get in over their head.  Thanks, Todd, for bringing this book to our attention--I, for one, intend to read it ASAP.

              One of the invaluable services that this site performs is by challenging people to THINK about what would happen if one of us would catch lightning in a bottle and win a large jackpot.  With all the "What would you do if. . ." scenarios that are discussed and commented upon in the forums, I feel pretty confident that any contributor to this site would be pretty wary about moving too fast and without some wise financial advice were they to win a lottery jackpot.

              I Agree!

              These same ads play all over the country. That grandfather looking spokesman reminds me of the accident lawyers you see advertizing on tv. To me, they rank lower then the lawyers on the snake scale.

                konane's avatar - wallace
                Atlanta, GA
                United States
                Member #1265
                March 13, 2003
                3333 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: September 25, 2007, 9:28 am - IP Logged

                I Agree!

                These same ads play all over the country. That grandfather looking spokesman reminds me of the accident lawyers you see advertizing on tv. To me, they rank lower then the lawyers on the snake scale.

                I Agree!
                 

                I've seen those ads off an on for years ........ my impression ..... bottom feeding sleeeeeeeeze.

                Wonder how these "structured settlements" effect a person's taxable amount owed when they're "discounted" and sold?

                Good luck to everyone!

                  Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
                  Clarksville
                  United States
                  Member #487
                  July 15, 2002
                  17638 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: September 25, 2007, 9:42 pm - IP Logged

                  Its not just lottery winners they hit..it is ANYONE WITH AN ANNUITY!  The VA sent us a warning letter about these crooks when it surfaced that one vet who got $600.00 p/m disability went to these folks or some like them and got $30,000.00 from them.  All the vet had to do was sign over his monthly $600.00 to them for 10  or 15 years.  whatever..it was totally scary.

                  If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

                  You never know when you will get another hit.

                    johnph77's avatar - avatar
                    CA
                    United States
                    Member #2987
                    December 10, 2003
                    832 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: September 25, 2007, 11:42 pm - IP Logged

                    I don't know whether this late night ad appears other places but in the Northern OH television markets an ad appears with a man urging anyone with a "structured settlement or annuity" to contact them for cash.  The company is JD W*ntw*rth and they have already converted one winner's lottery annuity (with 8 or 9M left on it) to a settlement of  not quite 2M.  Somehow there are lottery winners out there (thank gooodness in the minority) who either haven't received good advice (most state's lottery commissions have information that is available to any large winners who accepts it) or have received good advice and chosen not to follow it. 

                    These financial services are sharks that prey on those lottery winners like David Edwards who allowed their winnings control them and get in over their head.  Thanks, Todd, for bringing this book to our attention--I, for one, intend to read it ASAP.

                    One of the invaluable services that this site performs is by challenging people to THINK about what would happen if one of us would catch lightning in a bottle and win a large jackpot.  With all the "What would you do if. . ." scenarios that are discussed and commented upon in the forums, I feel pretty confident that any contributor to this site would be pretty wary about moving too fast and without some wise financial advice were they to win a lottery jackpot.

                    Let's do the math here. That company settled an $8M or $9M annuity for slightly less than $2M. If the winners had taken the lump sum to begin with, they would have gotten about $4M-$4.5M before taxes, about $3M after. The winners just got legally scammed for about a mil.

                    Blessed Saint Leibowitz, keep 'em dreamin' down there..... 

                    Next week's convention for Psychics and Prognosticators has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

                     =^.^=

                      Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                      Zeta Reticuli Star System
                      United States
                      Member #30470
                      January 17, 2006
                      10345 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: September 26, 2007, 10:36 am - IP Logged

                      Its not just lottery winners they hit..it is ANYONE WITH AN ANNUITY!  The VA sent us a warning letter about these crooks when it surfaced that one vet who got $600.00 p/m disability went to these folks or some like them and got $30,000.00 from them.  All the vet had to do was sign over his monthly $600.00 to them for 10  or 15 years.  whatever..it was totally scary.

                      Lttleoldlady

                      True, but don't forget the subrtitle of the book:

                      One Man's Journey Through the Darkside of Lottery Millions 

                      I'm guessing that's the main theme of the book, offering people who did not choose a cash option lump sum payments "after the fact, greatly reduced lump sum payments. 

                      It would really be interesting if someone read this book and then hit a jackpot to see which payment they'd take. Or to have jackpot winners read this before they got any payment at all.

                      Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

                      Lep

                      There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                        Avatar
                        Huntsville AL
                        United States
                        Member #16531
                        June 1, 2005
                        65 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: September 26, 2007, 12:37 pm - IP Logged

                        The business term for this is "Factoring" where accounts recievable are sold at a discount.  As with all things associated with a large amount of money you should get expert advise.

                          Avatar
                          New Member

                          United States
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                          September 26, 2007
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                          Posted: September 27, 2007, 9:37 am - IP Logged

                          Hi folks.  I'm Ed Ugel, author of Money for Nothing.  I'm happy to see that the book has caught the attention of so many lotterypost members.  A few thoughts:

                          • You're correct, it's a tough, competitive business.  However, it's totally legitimate. 
                          • A winner would be well served have expert advice when they enter into a lump sum transaction.
                          • Remember, a million dollar jackpot is really only worth around 50% of the advertised win amount.
                          • Still, it's not as black and white as some making comments here think.  There are a lot of variables that enter into how much money a winner will get from the secondary market in a lump sum transaction.
                          • The industry does provide a genuine service to those in need of cash.  You've just got to know how to play the game in order to insure that you get to dollar for your annuity.
                          • Too many winners get themselves into financial hot water, thus putting themselves in a poor position to properly shop and negotiate their lump sum deals.

                          I hope some of you decide to read the book.  While it's obviously about the lump sum industry, it's also about my life over the past decade working with gamblers while, at the same time, being a gambler myself.  I wrote the book to tell MY story--one I think is interesting, cautionary, and (more than anything else) a lot of fun to read.  The world of lottery winners is just plain old interesting, riddled with contradictions and unique characters.  I hope the book shows what this little slice of life is really like.

                          I've been fortunate as the book was well reviewed in the USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.  Folks seem to be responding to the humor in the book, which, to me, is the biggest complement I could receive.

                           I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially once you've read it.  Please let me know.  I'm always around to answer any questions etc.

                           

                          Cheers,

                           

                          Ed Ugel

                            RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                            mid-Ohio
                            United States
                            Member #9
                            March 24, 2001
                            19819 Posts
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                            Posted: September 27, 2007, 9:58 am - IP Logged

                            Hello Ed, welcome to LP.  Nice to get some additional input from the author.