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The MIT Fix

This is the true story of the revenge of the nerds: in 2005, a group of math and science geniuses 

(aka undergrads at MIT, seen above, conducting another prank) formed an organization called Cash 

Win Fall to beat the lottery. And they did it. Over the course of seven years, the group won nearly 

$48 million. Of course, the system required members of this lottery-fixing group to invest $40 million over 

the seven years in hundreds of thousands of $2 tickets. Officials finally put an end to the group in 2012 

when newspapers began investigating the set up.

McDonald's Pool

In March 2012, a group of 15 McDonald's employees pooled money and sent Mirlande Wilson off to 

buy lottery tickets. One was a $105 million winner, but Wilson insisted it was a ticket she bought separately 

from the group. Wilson refused to split the money. "I don't know if I won. Some of the numbers were familiar. 

I recognized some of [them],'' Wilson said, not doing a great job of convincing her co-workers, who are 

currently suing her, accusing her of pretending to lose the ticket but instead giving it to three public school

 workers who claimed the money and cut her a share. Wilson denies the allegations.

Zhao Liqun

In 2005, Chinese lottery agent Zhao Liqun found a lottery loophole. After the winning numbers were 

called, he still had a five-minute window in which to select and play numbers. Liqun took advantage of

 this window not once, not twice but three times, winning over $4 million. Chinese authorities discovered

 the loophole and, in 2007, he was sentenced to life in prison for fraud.

Callie Rogers

In 2003, Rogers became the youngest person to ever win the British lottery when she won £1.9 million 

at the age of 16. It didn't take long for her to spend her winnings on houses, vacations, clothing, cars, 

breast implants and cocaine. By the time she was 22, according to later interviews, Rogers had attempted 

suicide, was nearly broke and had moved back in with her mother. As of 2012, she was expecting twins and

 living with her boyfriend with £40,000 of her winnings left, which she planned to use for her children.

The Pennsylvania Scam

In 1980, more than six million people tuned in to watch the Pennsylvania lottery, which was set for the 

then-state record of $3.5 million. The numbers drawn: 6, 6, 6. That ominous selection of numbers was 

not an accident; presenter Nick Perry and others fixed the drawing by weighting certain balls. The group

 got away with the scheme for a few months before being caught. Perry was convicted of criminal

 conspiracy, perjury and three other charges and served two years in prison. The plot later 

served as inspiration for the 2000 movie Lucky Numbers, starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow.

In 1990, Alex Toth won $13 million in the Florida State Lottery. Rather than get it in one lump sum, 

the winnings were doled out to Toth and his wife, Rhoda, in 20 annual payments of $666,666. 

For Toth, that number wasn't just a scary coincidence. First, Rhoda's son and his girlfriend were 

accused of killing her dog and setting fire to Toth's car. Then Rhoda's daughter was in a car accident.

 Then came accusations of tax fraud in 2006. Then Toth was arrested for growing marijuana, writing

 bad checks, and violating probation (by growing more marijuana). In 2008, Toth died at the age of 60.

Convenience Store Swap

A well-meaning group of Ontario construction workers pooled their money in 2003 and bought a 

Lotto Super 7 play. Sadly, the ticket was not a winneror so the group thought. Investigators concluded

 that the construction guys were not informed their ticket had won a free play; the clerk kept the free ticket

 for himself and later won the jackpot with it. Following the investigation, the rightful winners were given

 more than $14 million (in Canadian dollars), according to the Globe And Mail.

Urooj Khan

Owner of multiple dry cleaners in Chicago, Urooj Khan's life got even better in June 2012, when

 he won $1 million on a scratcher he purchased at a 7-Eleven. After taxes, that million turned into 

$425,000 -- still a sizable score. But Khan died shortly before he was to receive the check. His family 

asked authorities to look into Khan's death, which had been ruled due to natural causes, and a

 toxicology report shockingly revealed his blood contained high amounts of cyanide.

Philip Kitchen

After winning £2 million in England's National Lottery, 58-year-old Philip Kitchen bought a 5-bedroom 

17th century town house complete with tennis court and boat house, a Bentley, a Rolls Royce, 

whiskey and beer. His friend, room mate, and grounds keeper Robert Walker told reporters that Kitchen

 "lived a hermit's life in a downstairs room, with his drink, a settee and a TV. He would watch four 

videos a day but his world was just drink." When he was found dead on his couch in 2001, Kitchen was

 surrounded by two crates of beer and an unopened bottle of whiskey. Kitchen's will gave the remaining 

money to 23 charities and not a penny to Walker.

Winning The Lottery Twice

In 2001, 78-year-old Ontario resident Bob Edmonds bought a Super 7 lottery ticket. When he took

 the ticket to the store, he heard a joyous sound: two winning jingles indicated that he was a 

winner twice over, but he was only given a free ticket and wasn't told of the other prize: $250,000. 

Suspecting that he had been cheated, Edmonds contacted the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

 (OLG) as well as the cops. 

The matter was unresolved until Edmonds sued both the OLG and the clerk, settling out of court. 

In 2006 The Fifth Estate, a Canadian documentary show reported on the case, which led to the firing 

of OLG president Duncan Brown and set precedence in the fight against lottery fraud.

Virginia Merida and Mack Metcalf

In 2000, husband and wife Virginia Merida and Mack Metcalf split a $34 million Kentucky

 Powerball jackpot. By 2001, the two were divorced, but that was just the start of their troubles. 

Metcalf purchased a Mount Vernon-esque estate and filled it with Rottweilers, tarantulas, a boa 

constrictor, and horses, along with vintage cars. 

According to the New York Times, after giving away cash to townsfolk and family, Metcalf drank

 heavily and told witnesses he feared for his life. In 2003, he died of hepatitis and cirrhosis of the

 liver. Merida bought a modest house, which started as a home for her, her son, and her mother,

 but later turned tragic when Merida's boyfriend died of an overdose. In 2004, Merida died. 

Her body was not discovered for days.

Lottery Winners Only Slightly Happier Than Quadriplegics

In a 1978 study published in the <>Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, psychologists 

interviewed three groups about their perceived level of happiness: Illinois State Lottery winners,

 non-winners with no major health problems and accident victims who had become 

paraplegics or quadriplegics. 

The survey found that while the lottery winners were the happiest overall, they weren't much 

happier than either of the other two groups and were much less able to find pleasure in everyday

 things like getting a compliment or talking to a friend than the non-winners or accident victims. 

The moral of the story: Day to day, it's better to be a paraplegic than a lottery winner.