Thursday, August 24, 2006

Understatement of the week.

"She obviously had a gambling problem," said Donna Planty, assistant district attorney.

Really? You think so, Donna?

This just flat boggl... I mean, it stagge... It's just frickin' asto...

WTF? I mean, really, WTF'inF?

How in the name of Vishnu's bunions does two-point-freaking-three MILLION dollars just vanish over the course of three years and nobody even bats an eye? The article claims she "wrote company checks for cash, petty cash, or checks payable to herself and falsely listed them as payments to vendors associated with the medical office." Yet nobody ever said "Gosh, we're seeing a ton of patients, but we don't seem to be getting ahead here. We sure are spending an awful lot on tongue depressors. Better look into that."

The cherry on the icing of the cake of this article, however, is the fact that the reporter apparently felt the need to laboriously point out that
Donnelly may have won jackpots of $5,000 or even $25,000, but never enough to cover the amount stolen overall, Planty said.
Well duh, there, Enrico Fermi. May I remind you (and the rest of America that apparently slept through Probability & Statistics 101) that the purpose of the Lotto is to generate money. The odds are in favor of the house. The more money you spend, the less likely you are to recoup your losses. If you bought every lotto ticket ever printed and won every prize ever offered, including all the big jackpots, you would still lose money! Get it? More money goes in than comes out! Capiche?

No wonder they call it the "Stupid Tax"...


Unknown said...

I'm thinking she was feeding other habits than her scratch ticket addiction, too. The article says she's 38, but her picture looks like she's approaching 50. Unless the poor girl is just blessed with bad genes, I'd say a good chunk of that stolen money went up her nose.


Anonymous said...

You know, if I had stolen 3.5 million bucks, I, uhm, wouldn't NEED to play the lottery. I could live tolerably well off that for the rest of my life, assuming I, say, doubled my current annual spending rate, and invested the bulk in reasonably safe investments with a steady rate of return.

Tam said...

The only reason I am leaving this comment is because the verification code is "poopd".


Anonymous said...

Although the state gets at least half the ticket revenue, when the lottery isn't won for several go-arounds, you can actually get into a situation where the payout exceeds the price of the ticket, considering the odds. Theoretically, if you only bought tickets for those lotto games, eventually you should come out ahead. There is somewhat of a sweet spot, because when the jackpot gets too big, the odds of having to share a prize go up in the resulting ticket buying frenzy.

Of course the odds are still better that you will get struck by lightning during a shark attack in the Mojave Desert, but the math is sound.

A few years ago a group of investors (usually described as a “consortium”) tried to cover every single ticket in the Virginia lottery, and nearly succeeded. They did manage to pick the winning number (and a number of smaller prizes) and the lottery board was stuck in kind of a jam. You don't want to get a reputation for not paying out tickets, but you also don't want to foster the image that only well financed investing teams can win.

I suppose you also don't want to place an upper limit on the number of tickets people are allowed to buy, but I think that's what they had to do, as well as requiring that the tickets bought were purchased during normal business hours.

I think they did finally pay out.

Anonymous said...

She spent $2.3M buying lottery tickets?

She embezzelled $2.3 MILLION DOLLARS, to buy lottery tickets?

How much did she expect to win? Wouldn't $2,300,000 be a decent jackpot by itself?

Wait, no, stupid question. We're talking about an addict here. None of their behavior has to make sense. Except to satisfy their urge.

Paul said...

I presume that the 2.3 million, or a large fraction of it, went to the State of New York. I wonder if the Governor will reimburse her company...?

No, I don't really wonder.

BobG said...

What I would like to know is what the hell the auditor was doing while she was stealing all of this? And why didn't their tax accountant get a clue? If I were the business owner, I would start by canning a large portion of the staff for incompetence.

phlegmfatale said...

Well, if it's a stupid tax, she sure is a good citizen for ponying up the dough without being asked.

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