If you were to win a Cash For Life lottery ticket that paid out $1,000 per month for the rest of your life, you’d expect to be set, but not for this winner.
Donald Magett, 73, from Michigan, won the Cash for Life lottery prize in the 1980s and ever since has been receiving payments of $12,000 per year, but it’s not been enough. The former lottery millionaire is now more than $1.5 million in debt and in auctioning off his winning ticket in desperation, as he needs cash now, whereas most lottery winners are in debt before they win the game, such as a couple of Canadian Lotto Max winners who vowed to pay off their mortgage and other debts with their $1 million pay-out. Mr Magett’s story is starkly different to that of many other lottery winners, who go to auction after their win to buy things, rather than sell them, just like a couple of Lotto winners from New Zealand who won $1 million last year.
The Michigan resident has been allowed to legally sell off his Cash For Life ticket, and the winning bidder will receive the $1,000 per month payments, but only until the end of the original winner’s life. With the minimum bid set at $30,000, whoever takes home the second-hand Cash For Life prize is taking a huge risk that could either pay off in a big way, or they could lose that $30,000 if Mr Magett were to die tomorrow.
The former police officer filed a bankruptcy petition in 2005 after a lawsuit from the federal government accused him of misusing the retirement funds of a private security firm that he owned and operated following his retirement from the police force. In 2007, he was convicted and sent to prison for six years, and is in good health following his release, according to his bankruptcy trustee. He’s not the only lottery winner to have had trouble with the law, as a EuroMillions winner from Ireland was faced with community service or jail after a driving offence last year.
The auctioneer at Miedema Auctioneering who is in charge of the unique case, compared the bidding for the Cash For Life ticket to gambling. “I mean, the gentleman actually could die next week. He could die in 20 years, 30 years. We just don’t know.” He said that if Mr Magett lives for 10 more years, and the winning bidder is able to pay $30,000 or a little more, “it’s been a great investment.” Late last year another lottery winner, this time from Kansas, auctioned off his lottery prize, a motoped survival bike, in order to raise money for cancer charity.
Once bidding for Mr Magett’s Cash For Life ticket is complete, he will use his proceeds to begin paying off his debt.
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