With permission of Gail Howard and NY Lotto News, submitted by El-Ho. This article was published on 20 September in NY Lotto News.
A History of Lottery Scamsters
by Gail Howard
An email I received last week brought rushing back bad memories of people I had trusted who deceived me and my readers.
Randy Miller of Lockport, New York, wrote:
“I received an interesting $100 lottery refund check yesterday from a class action lawsuit. It was started about 10 years ago and it had to do with several companies that were operating from outside their states borders and also buying tickets in Canada.
“One of these companies that I played thru at that time for the Canadian lottery was called 'Rainbow Project'. It may sound familiar to you. I did about $400 business with them over a course of several months back then. This was playing the Canadian and Australian lottery.
“Anyways, the time is past for anyone else to be able to put a claim in to collect anything. I guess I received this notice as they had me on their files.
“Anyways, the govt. caught up with them and the court attny's wrote me, and many others that played lottery games through them, to submit our 'receipts' from these companies, to them and any of the several other companies that were being charged. So I did as I saved the receipts from that time ago, and I got a $100 check yesterday from them.
“Amazing as this has been going on for many years. I didn't think I would get anything.
“So I have attached a copy of the form they sent...minus the check as I already cashed it. :-) But it shows the amount.
Your friend, Randy”
Back in the 1980’s when few states had lotteries, people all across the USA played the Canadian lotteries through private companies. They happily paid double the cost ($2) per ticket just to be in the lottery action.
Of course, not every Canadian company played by the rules. There were rumors that one of the companies did not actually buy the tickets, but booked the bets and paid off the secondary prizes. The rumor was verified when one of their customers won a multi-million dollar jackpot for which they didn’t have a ticket. It was the first Canadian lottery ticket scandal that shook the industry.
Most of the other companies began with honest intentions. In fact, I even endorsed some of them so that my readers would have access to the ones I believed to be ethical. I never asked for, nor did I ever receive, any remuneration for sending business their way through the countless articles I wrote about them in various gambling and lottery magazines, including the one you are reading.
Lucky Buck was a popular company at the time. Customers raved about the friendly efficient service provided by owner Diane Fries. She didn’t book bets. She purchased the tickets on behalf of her customers. It was not legal even then to send lottery tickets across borders or even across state lines. Instead, customers were sent confirmations listing the lotto numbers played for specific drawing dates. One of my jackpot winners, Max and Wonda Harrell, won and collected a jackpot playing through Lucky Buck used my wheeling systems.
Another popular company at the time was the Australian I.L.A., run by Terry Morris. Like Lucky Buck, I.L.A. was highly regarded by my readers. Early on, Ken Mathis won an Australian lotto jackpot using my Lottery Advantage number selection methods. He flew from his home in Dalton, Georgia to Australia to collect his windfall. Morris purchased the tickets for his customers. He knew better than to book the bets himself.
After years of running a successful booming business, both of those companies left me shocked, devastated, humiliated and disillusioned.
One day, when Diane Fries had a million dollars in cash that people had sent her to buy their lottery tickets, she decided to disconnect her phones, close her business, and pocket the million dollars. Greed utterly destroyed her character, her ethics and self-respect.
Even more cruel than bilking hundreds of dollars from thousands of trusting customers was Terry Morris’ swindling a customer of her legitimate jackpot win. I received a tearful phone call from a reader who had won a multi-million dollar jackpot in Australia, but Morris refused to let her claim it, preferring to keep it for himself. I asked the distraught woman to provide me with verifiable proof of her claim, which she did.
I then contacted Terry Morris in Australia and told him that I had seen absolute proof of this woman’s jackpot win and demanded that he allow his customer to claim the millions she had legitimately won. His greedy heart was stone cold. He was determined to keep her millions for himself. When I suggested that she find a lawyer in Australia to represent her, she said she couldn’t afford to do that.
I wrote an article that appeared in this paper blasting him, describing the unfortunate incident and warning readers not to buy Australian lottery tickets. Morris saw the article in Winning Numbers (now Lotto News) and demanded that we print a retraction. The publisher and editor had seen the documented proof and knew beyond any doubt that the woman had a legitimate claim, so they stood by my story and refused to print a retraction.
In the meantime, Morris organized a letter writing campaign among his still-devoted customers. We were amused reading the letters – all had the same message and same wording, from many different people. When we still refused to print a retraction, Morris threatened to sue me, sue the publication, sue the publisher and sue the editor. We stood firm and never printed the retraction. No lawsuits were filed, but we were confident that we would win if it came to that.
Retired Grumman Aerospace Corporation F-14 Tomcat AVIONICS Field Engineer Extraordinaire