Winners of Lottery
April 11: Surveillance video shows members of the Brudnick family cashing in winning tickets at the lottery’s Woburn office.
The Brudnicks may be one of the luckiest families in Massachusetts.
In just the last couple of years, Chelsea insurance agent Robert Brudnick has cashed in 140 winning Massachusetts lottery tickets worth at least $1, 000 each. His 25-year-old daughter Ashley has racked up another 100 wins. And his 23-year-old son Nathan, has turned in 99 more. The total take: More than $440, 000, mostly from scratch tickets.
But state lottery officials and statisticians say they doubt any family could be that fortunate. The odds of winning at least $1, 000 from one of the lottery’s most popular $5 scratch ticket games is 1 in 5, 300. Now imagine beating those kind of odds every other day, on average, for two straight years.
“It doesn’t seem very likely by chance alone, ” said Jeffrey Rosenthal, a University of Toronto statistician and author of the book “Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities.” Rosenthal said someone would likely have to spend millions of dollars on tickets — thousands of dollars a day — to win so often. “It seems inconceivable.”
So how did the family wind up with so many winners?
The Brudnicks, contacted by the Globe, declined to discuss it. But state lottery officials suspect the Brudnicks could be Ten Percenters — people cashing in winning tickets for customers who don’t want to go to the lottery offices to claim the prize themselves (something required for any tickets of $600 or more). In return, the ticket cashers are thought to keep a small portion of the winnings as a commission, say 10 percent.
“We can only suspect they are cashing in other people’s tickets, ” said lottery director Beth Bresnahan. “The odds are not in their favor” to win so often on their own.
State officials have long believed some people may be using middlemen to cash in their tickets to evade taxes, child support, or other debts.
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