In 1981, one of the most historic lottery scams was recorded. The mastermind behind this scam was none other than the host of the lottery show, Nick Perry,. With time, this lottery scandal became known as the “triple six fixes” because it was designed to result in three sixes being drawn. The Pennsylvania Lottery’s three-digit game known as the ‘Daily Number’ was the target of this renowned scheme. By weighing down all the balls except four and six, Nick Perry made it practically certain that the resulting draw would consist of a combination of fours and sixes. The Daily Number drawing on April the 24th 1980 saw the scheme culminate when three sixes drawn. With a predicted payout of over $3 million, the conspirators appeared successful in their pursuit.
As mentioned before, the main conspirator behind this scandal was none other than the daily number announcer along with partners - Peter and Jack Maragos. The brothers injected test balls with latex paint and conducted experiments to get the weighting perfect. On a fateful day, almost all balls were injected with latex paint. Only the 4’s and 6’s were left untouched. When the balls are drawn in full motion, it was nearly impossible to tell what was happening unless you know what to look for. The weighted balls had just the right amount of latex paint so that the balls are able to fly up from the bottom of the lottery machine but not reach high enough to be drawn. It basically reduced the vast number of combinations to 8 combinations-
444,446,464,466,664, 646, 644, 666
Other conspirators included the lottery official, Edward Plevel, who provided access unsupervised access to the lottery machines for several minutes so that stage man Fred Luman could switch the regular balls for the weighted ones. To destroy the evidence, Joseph, art director, and lettering expert, took the weighted balls to his studio; loaded them in a paint can and burned them 30 minutes after the live lottery draw was commenced.
The conspirators removed the evidence remarkably well and left no traces. The only mistake they made was that they told some of their friends and family members about the plot. Eventually, an anonymous tip sparked an investigation which led to the bar where they purchased their lottery tickets. A worker at the bar recalled that the Maragos brothers had visited the bar recently. A pay phone call was also traced which confirmed every involved conspirator of the scandal.
The Pennsylvania lottery commission responded to this incident by increasing the security surrounding the lottery. In the wake of this scandal, the lottery has regained the public’s trust. To this date, Pennsylvania has raised about $24.7 Billion to support senior citizens. Nick Perry who used his position within the lottery to steal from the elderly with the sinister combination of “666” served a lucky 7 years in prison. Click here to read more here.