Headlines of Yore

The 1980s Philly sweepstakes charlatan who swindled folks out of $2 million in prizes

After a federal indictment, Chuck Seidman went on to gain Donald Trump as a client.

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

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

Wikimedia Commons
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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.

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