Police Believe Missing Lottery Winner To Be Dead
Posted: Monday, January 18th, 2010 at 10:21 am
A man who won a multi-million dollar lottery prize—and who subsequently went missing—may be dead, say police.
Abraham Shakespeare, a Florida truck driver, won $31 million in a lottery in 2006. A year later, he was embroiled in a court challenge with a coworker, who had accused Shakespeare, 43, of stealing the ticket from him.
Shakespeare’s family told representatives from the Polk County sheriff’s department that they had not seen him since April. They did not report him missing, however, until November. Initially, both friends and authorities had assumed that Shakespeare had left Florida, and perhaps the United States, in order to escape constant requests for loans and gifts after having received the lottery winnings.
After Thanksgiving, when there was still no word from Shakespeare, authorities offered a reward of $5,000 for information about him.
Detectives have been investigating Dee Dee Moore, a friend of Shakespeare’s who is now a “person of interest” in the case. No charges have yet been filed against Moore.
According to detectives, Moore paid people in order to report that they had seen the missing man, sometimes paying as much as several thousand dollars to each individual. Sheriff Gray Judd said that Moore paid a cousin of Shakespeare’s $5,000 to send a birthday card to his mother, which Shakespeare had purportedly signed. She also allegedly used Shakespeare’s cell phone to make phone calls and send text messages, in order to give the impression that he was still alive.
Moore perpetuated the idea that Shakespeare had left town because he was tired of others hounding him for money, but authorities later discovered that his bank accounts and properties had been transferred into Moore’s name. Included among these assets was a $1 million house which Moore claimed to have purchased from Shakespeare for $600,000. She told investigators that she had offered to help the truck driver manage his finances after the lottery windfall.
Although Moore was initially cooperative, she has since stopped talking to investigators about the case.
Judd has called for Shakespeare to come forward if he is alive, so that the investigation can be put to rest. Investigators believe that most of Shakespeare’s fortune—which amounted to $16.9 million after taxes—has been spent.