fbpx

Where money is concerned almost anything goes. For most of us, It just doesn’t get much bigger than the lottery. It goes without saying therefore that over time some may be tempted to try to tip the scales in their favor. One man who did just that was the French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher, François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire. This is the story of how Voltaire managed to pull off one of the most audacious lottery syndicate scams in History.

A financial crisis in 18th-Century France

18th Century France, The country was going through a financial crisis brought about by the banking system (now where have I heard that before). This, in turn, triggered a period of austerity (that sounds familiar too). It also started a craze that gave ordinary people an opportunity to strike it rich by taking part in the national lottery.

Due in part to the crisis that France found itself in, the Government of the time sought to ease its financial burden by releasing a series of bonds to raise money. However, as a result of the economic turmoil, they were eventually forced to cut the interest rates on the bonds, leaving them worth much less than face value. This, in turn, made it difficult to sell new bond issues.

*LOTTERY SYNDICATE*
10 Euromillions syndicate lines for only £1!
*BET ON LOTTERY*
20 Euromillions syndicate entries for just £2
*LOTTERY AGENT*
Buy one Powerball USA lottery ticket and get one free!

How to solve a financial crisis

The Deputy Finance Minister of the day, a chap named Le Pelletier-Desforts, came up with an idea of how the government may raise the value of these bonds. A French lottery!

Quite simply it worked like this. He figured that if existing bond owners were allowed to purchase a lottery ticket worth 1/1000th of the value of the bond, the eventual winner would get the full face value of that bond (more than they could hope to get on the open market) plus a bonus of 500,000 Livres (the French currency at that time). The original bonds, of course, were issued at differing price points. It was, therefore, possible to purchase bonds worth 1000 Livres and others for as much as 100,000 Livres.

Unfortunately for the French government (and ultimately Monsieur Le Pelletier-Desforts), there was one fatal flaw in their otherwise cunning plan…

Concocting a lottery scam during dinner

Thanks to a chance meeting over dinner, Voltaire and an already wealthy gentleman by the name of Charles Marie de la Condamine, reasoned that the French lottery could be exploited. During this meeting, they set an idea in motion that would lead to one of the most audacious lottery syndicate scams in history.

They figured, that in order to succeed with their lottery scam they could simply buy all the tickets for bonds with a face value of 1000 Livres (1 Livre per ticket). This would give them a tremendous advantage over other bondholders. The reason is that far fewer of the larger-value bonds were issued. They also knew that they almost certainly could not do this alone. Government bonds at this time were only available for purchase from a select few agents. To get around this they set about recruiting others to take part in France’s first-ever lottery syndicate.

Well, their lottery scam worked. With Voltaire’s help, de la Condamine and other syndicate members reaped enormous sums of money month after month after month. Voltaire himself made a sum of a little over 500,000 Livres in the space of a year thanks to his incredible lottery scam.

*LOTTERY SYNDICATE*
10 Euromillions syndicate lines for only £1!
*BET ON LOTTERY*
20 Euromillions syndicate entries for just £2
*LOTTERY AGENT*
Buy one Powerball USA lottery ticket and get one free!

It only takes one mistake to bring down a lottery syndicate

Sadly though, as with every great lottery scam, one tiny mistake is capable of bringing the entire system tumbling down. Voltaire had one glaring weakness you see. The French government. His whole adult life had been spent in criticism of the French authorities. This had earlier led to him being imprisoned in the Bastille for nearly a year (during this time he wrote his first play ‘Oedipus’), and also a period of exile from Paris.

It was customary when purchasing lottery tickets to write something on the back. Usually, this was in the form of good luck slogans or dedications to family or friends. Voltaire, however, used this trend to write anti-government rhetoric, and occasionally he would praise de la Condamine for his wisdom.

Because of this the authorities eventually became wise to the scam and discovered the names of those involved. Voltaire and de la Condamine were arrested and taken to court. However, the court found that their lottery scam was not a scam at all. Neither man had actually broken any laws. It was really the structure of the French lottery itself that was at fault. So eventually both men were released and entitled to keep the money earned from their lottery syndicate. The lottery itself though ended, ignominiously.

As for Monsieur Le Pelletier-Desforts? Indirectly, he was responsible for one of the greatest lottery syndicate scams in history. He also helped to fund one of the greatest mathematicians of the time de la Condamine, and one of the greatest ever philosophers in Voltaire. In that sense at least the French lottery was a success.

lottery syndicate scams

Graphic courtesy of Veritable Hokum

Not all lottery syndicates are scams

Was Voltaire a lottery syndicate scammer or did he just take advantage of the odds? You decide. The truth is he saw an opportunity and he took it. You could too if you take part in an online lottery syndicate at Lotto Social. Did you know that by taking part in a fully managed online lottery syndicate with others you could improve your odds of a major jackpot success by over 6000x?

Join thousands of other happy and successful lottery syndicate members at Lotto Social for just £1. Get 10 Euromillions lines PLUS 5 FREE scratchcards for only £1 by joining a Lotto Social syndicate.

*LOTTERY SYNDICATE*
10 Euromillions syndicate lines for only £1!
T&Cs Apply
Start your Lotto Social membership get 10 syndicated EuroMillion Lines plus 5 free instant win games. Membership of £5 per week starts at midnight for 20 syndicated lines. That’s 10 lines on Tuesday + 10 lines on Friday. Free to cancel at any time. [See Terms & Conditions.]
*BET ON LOTTERY*
20 Euromillions syndicate entries for just £2
T&Cs Apply

First-time depositors only. LottoGo.com is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission for UK customers (For full details of LottoGo.com’s Regulatory Body please see T&Cs) and has more than 1,000,000 players. Gamble Responsibly. www.gambleaware.co.uk. *18+. LottoGo.com T&Cs apply). Offer available to new players only. Winnings will be divided proportionally between the syndicate group. Each ticket is a 1/50th share.

*LOTTERY AGENT*
Buy one Powerball USA lottery ticket and get one free!

T&C's Apply

The Works of Voltaire

François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778) or Voltaire as he was more commonly known, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher. Famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. If you would like to learn more about Voltaire, his life, and his works, including his most famous novel ‘Candide’ then you may browse a selection of Voltaire’s books at the Book Depository…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Top 10 Casinos
Join today and get up to 100 free spins at Boylesports
Claim 100 free spins plus up to £200 bonus cash at MrPlay casino
Stake £10 at Betfred and claim 200 Free Spins
500 Bonus Spins
100% Welcome Bonus
Claim £150 welcome bonus plus 150 free spins
100% bonus plus 50 free spins on Book of Dead
200% welcome bonus - deposit £10 and play with £30 plus 30 free spins
Claim 100% welcome bonus up to £100 plus 10% cashback
Deposit £10 and get a £10 bonus plus 10 free spins on Starburst

Play Online Slots For Free
© Copyright 2020 Ken Slots