Unusual lottery auction ends with top bid of $40k

AP News
Posted: Jan 07, 2016 10:44 PM

DETROIT (AP) — Someone is betting $40,026 on the life of a 73-year-old lottery winner in Michigan.

That amount was the highest bid Thursday in an online auction for a lottery prize that pays $1,000 a month, before taxes. But here's the hitch: The money is paid only as long as Donald Magett stays alive.

The Portage man won the "Cash for Life" game back in 1984, although the winnings lately have been going to bankruptcy trustee Tom Richardson to pay Magett's debts.

Richardson auctioned the lottery prize — the last main asset — in an effort to close the bankruptcy case. The auction house, repocast.com, said the top bid was $40,026. At that price, Magett would need to live a few more years for the winner to at least break even.

The winner soon will get the first annual payment of $12,000.

Richardson said he doesn't know the details about Magett's health.

"All I know is his lawyer tells me his health is good," Richardson said.

Bidders weren't offered any information either. The Social Security Administration predicts that the life expectancy of a 73-year-old man is another 13 years.

The winner's name was not released. Magett declined to comment through his attorney, Steve Rayman, who also declined to comment.

"We had hundreds of calls — and that's putting it lightly. We had one from Great Britain," said Duane Mingerink of the auction house. "You like gambling? That's what this is."


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