Virginia or Bust: Stefan Mandel

Posted: Tuesday, Dec 18,2018 | Time: 01:21 pm | Edited by: The Lottery Lab Staff


Australian lottery outlawed computer printed tickets and purchasing tickets in bulk because Stefan Mandel was winning regularly, Mandel needed to shift his focus to a different approach. He used his profits to plant “scouts” all over North America including Boston, Miami, Montreal, Norfolk, and Pheonix. First, he compiled a list of lotteries that had offered jackpots that were at least 3 times the total of all possible combinations. After analyzing different state lotteries, he ultimately focused on the Virginia Lottery.   Unlike lotteries which had adopted rules against Mandel’s techniques, the Virginia Lottery allowed users to purchase tickets in unlimited quantity and print them at home. Moreover, the biggest advantage was the numbers only ranged from 1 to 44 which meant there was only 7,059,052 possible combination with 6 picks whereas other lotteries had as many as 25+ million. He set up a trust named ILF (International Lotto Fund) under the shell corporation Pacific Financial Resources, then convinced around 2,500 investors to enter the lottery pool with at least $3 K each. Investors were aware of Mandel’s prior success and he succeeded in raising more than $9M. He set up 12 laser printers and 30 computers in a Melbourne warehouse and employed about 16 full-time accountants to print 7M tickets pre-populated with every combination. This procedure took about 3 months and after that, he shipped one-ton of tickets to a point-person in the US. Now they simply waited for the right time to strike the moment when the jackpot was rolling because nobody had won in quite some time. Finally, the Virginia jackpot reached a value of $27M on February 12, 1992.  This was the signal for Mandel and his team to GO! They bought all the possible combinations. The hard part was that while the Virginia lottery allowed people to print tickets at home legally, but the tickets were still required to be taken to an authorized lotto retailer. Waltzing into a gas station with 7 million tickets and a truckload of money wasn’t a practical choice. Thus, he hired an accounting firm to transfer about $7.1 million into Crestar Bank in Virginia and cut cashier’s checks worth $10 K. Now, only one task was left to find a point-person in Mayhem. So he turned to a fresh bankrupt oilman who was ready for any action. He was appointed for a harrowing job including coordination of the drop-off, payments, and processing of 7 Million lotteries at hundreds of stores all over Virginia. So the team was in action and on the drawing day, They Won! Mandel sent the good news to his 2,524 investors in a short message, “One of our target lotteries did jackpot to our required level. We entered and we won.” They won the first prize worth $27,036,142 and $900 k second prize as well. It was to be paid out in 20 annual installments of $1.03m. But they had other plans, stay tuned for the next part of the story!

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