October 25, 1997 in Nation/World

Man Travels 6,000 Miles, Thinking He Won Prize Senior Neglected To Read Sweepstakes Fine Print

Pat Leisner Associated Press
 

The large print on the sweepstakes mailing screamed: RICHARD LUSK HAS WON IT ALL AND WILL DEFINITELY RECEIVE $12 MILLION CASH GUARANTEED!

So Lusk, 88, traveled nearly 6,000 miles to ensure that his winning ticket didn’t get lost.

The trip was in vain. The fine print told the story.

The lead-in to the won-it-all pitch on the American Family Publishers entry said in small print: “If you have and return the top winning entry …” Lusk was convinced he had actually won.

“The thing to do was get the ticket back to them. That’s what I was trying to do,” Lusk said Friday from his home near Victorville, Calif., a desert town east of Los Angeles.

After all, he said, he had received at least six such announcements and had returned all of them, and still he wasn’t a millionaire. He thought maybe the tickets got lost in the mail. This time he decided to fly the ticket cross-country.

For several years, Lusk has been entering sweepstakes and ordering magazines in connection with the entries. His family estimates he has spent $50,000. One-quarter of his house is filled with periodicals.

Last week, Bill Lusk, 63, of Berkeley, Calif., learned that his father was about to catch a plane to Tampa early the next morning. He drove the 400 miles to his father’s house in the middle of the night. Unable to persuade his father not to go, he decided to go along to take care of him.

When their plane landed, Bill Lusk called his mother’s home and spoke to the person who assists her. She read the fine print.

“Oh, no, Dad, we’ve just spent $2,000 to pursue a rainbow,” Lusk said.

New York City attorney David Carlin, representing American Family Publishers, said Friday: “It’s tragic when this happens. The problem is some people confuse reality and fantasy. … It’s all there. It says, ‘If you have the winning entry, you’re going to get the money.”’

Richard Lusk returned home and mailed in his ticket for the drawing sometime in November. He still hopes to win the $12 million, which he would use to help send his eight great-grandchildren to college.

“But this is the end of it,” he said. “I’ve got more magazines than I know what to do with.”

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