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They stole $16,421,808 last week. You could add up the lifetime take for Jesse James, John Dillinger and Willie Sutton, then throw in the Great Brinks Robbery and it wouldn’t be close to what these four men had just taken, but this was just a so-so week. Moreover, these people had no fear of being caught because they knew the money would never be missed. In fact, they planned to do it again next week just like they had every week for over two decades. Over the last 20 years Tom Baldwin, technical genius, founder and CEO of the firm that manufactures and services all state lottery machines and numbered ping pong balls, has supplied his deep cover CIA associates with all winning lottery numbers. He controls the lotteries each week using on-line computers, concealed electromagnets in the machines and metal-based paint on pre-selected ping pong balls. Over $22 Billion has been deposited to The CIA’s Discretionary Fund through Tom’s efforts. As advancing age and declining health push him closer to the day on which he must hand the controls over to younger men, he decides to reacquaint himself with his three estranged grandchildren who have not seen or heard from him in over 16 years, and give each of them the key to the lottery in their state. Three compelling subplots diverge as each grandchild follows a different path with their newfound wealth. The story builds to a tense and unnerving crescendo as their inability to control the greed within and around them begins to topple the lottery scheme and the CIA itself. No one appears to escape the evil seduction of power brought about by the sudden availability of unlimited amounts of money. However, the unexpected but quite believable twist in the last scene will cause the reader to question whether the story is fact or fiction.
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Mr. Waddell was previously an international business consultant.
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