Stefan Mandel was struggling to raise his family in Romania during the 1960s.
Then, the self-proclaimed ‘weekend mathematician’ who read papers on probability for fun, devised an algorithm to help him strike it rich.
If a lottery jackpot reached an amount higher than what it would cost to buy tickets with every possible number combination, Stefan knew
he could pocket a fortune.
After recruiting investors to cover the cost of the tickets, they ended up winning first prize.
Stefan eventually settled in Australia and over the next 20 years won 12 lotteries in Australia and the UK before authorities changed
the laws to prevent bulk ticket purchases.
‘Everyone said to me you will not succeed. Now the voices have been silenced,’ Stefan told a Romanian newspaper.
In 1992, Stefan set his sights on America where they still allowed punters to print their own tickets and purchase in bulk.
Stefan set up 30 computers all running his algorithm and printed seven million tickets for the Virginian Lottery.
The tickets were shipped to Stefan’s US recruit, Anithalee Alex.
When the lottery jackpotted to $38 million, Anithalee had 72 hours to get the tickets to registered Virginian lottery agencies before the draw.
‘We thought they were nuts,’ Rick Miller, owner of a Virginia petrol station said. ‘But if someone wants to buy 700,000 lottery tickets we’re not going to chase them away!’
When Stefan won prizes totalling almost $40 million, US lottery laws were quickly changed.
Today he’s reportedly living the quiet life in Vanuatu. Good on him!