Trump Plaza Casino Hotel in Atlantic City was one of the clients of the sweepstakes biz

The thrill of winning something for nothing has powerful pull. It drives state lotteries, powers casinos, and was responsible for fueling a huge sweepstakes boom in 1980s America.

One Philadelphia man, Charles “Chuck” Seidman, took advantage of that trend by setting up a company to run those contests. But instead of handing out prizes, turns out he mostly kept them for himself. The house won, every time.

The scam eventually came crashing down, but Seidman escaped relatively unscathed. He scooped up Atlantic City hotel owner Donald Trump as a client, while his former partner opened a South Jersey strip club. Scroll through the thread below for details on how it all went down.

Avi Wolfman-Arent is co-host of Studio 2 and a broadcast anchor on 90.9 FM. He was previously an education reporter with WHYY, where he's worked since 2014. Prior to that he covered nonprofits for the...