Inside Michigan's $30 million lottery scam
A local real estate broker became one of the state lottery's biggest winners ever by buying hundreds of tickets a day with money from investors in his Ponzi-style scheme, The Atlantic reports.
What happened: The broker, Troy-based Viktor Gjonaj, exchanged thousands of winning tickets for nearly $30 million over a nine-month stretch, using a system he believed gave him an edge based on perceived patterns.
- But his system was bunk. In reality, he was cashing winning tickets with pure luck, propped up with massive expenditures on tickets.
- Gjonaj lured investors into sham real-estate deals to support his gambling problem.
What they're saying: "Once I hit the $10 million, I think it raised 100 red flags within the lottery," Gjonaj recalled.
The impact: As the scheme inevitably fell apart, Gjonaj feared for his family's safety and eventually confessed to federal authorities.
- He was charged with one count of federal wire fraud in January 2021.
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