Malcolm Ramsey won $500 a week for life, after winning the lottery in St. Petersburg, Fla., but he opted for the taxed lump sum of $302,446 after taxes. Four weeks later, the money was reportedly all gone. Now the police have opened an investigation to discover who could be responsible for taking advantage of the mentally challenged man, according to Tampa Bay Times.
Ramsey is a paranoid schizophrenic who has been hospitalized repeatedly for his mental illness and lives at an assisted living facility. A court once determined that Ramsey is unable to care for himself — much less his finances — but is able to come and go as he pleases; he also has a legal guardian because he has been deemed mentally incompetent.
Therefore, a judge appointed the non-profit Aging Solutions to handle all of Ramsey’s bills and to monitor his care. He receives assistance from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program that pays for room and board, and they also provide him with a $54 monthly allowance.
Reportedly, as soon as friends and family members got wind of his $1 scratch-off winnings, they showed up in droves to get their cut of the pie.
In order to claim his prize, the 55-year-old man took a copy of his birth certificate and a piece of ID then asked an acquaintance and cab driver Charlie Springer to ride him to Tallahassee to claim his big winnings.
Just as soon as Ramsey was able to cash the check at a check cashing place that charged him $14,ooo in fees, it was on and popping!
He reportedly took $19,678 in cash and purchased 268 money orders, each for $1,000. Police investigators discovered that Ramsey cashed 21 money orders on November 6th and one or more others on nearly every other day thereafter.
On Black Friday, he parceled $8,000 and purchased a flat-screen TV at Walmart.
On another day, Ramsey reportedly visited a couple of malls and a flea market, where he purchased so many outfits that he had to buy plastic storage bins in order to accommodate them all. He also bought 40 Timex watches for family members at $19.95 a pop.
Aging Solutions was contacted by Ramsey’s assisted living facility, when workers began to notice family members they had never seen before all of a sudden visiting the man. Lona DiCerb, director of operations at Aging Solutions, the nonprofit then in charge of Ramsey’s care, told Tampa Bay Times that seeing Ramsey surround himself with folks who had never even paid him a visit before his winnings was worrisome.
Consequently, DiCerb felt compelled to contact the authorities because she felt it was in Ramsey’s best interest.
Two weeks reportedly went by when police decided to investigate Ramsey’s windfall case and already $100,000 was but a mere memory. When the St. Petersburg police began to question Ramsey and visited his home, he unlocked a closet and handed the detectives $118,000 in money orders; police have since placed them all in a safe.
Investigators, who are delving in to the Ramsey case, are trying to figure out where a huge amount of the monies have gone. So far, relatives have admitted to receiving new cell phones, $1,500 for a nephew’s timing belt for his car, cash gifts, and restaurant outings. Detectives are trying to determine whether anyone took illegal advantage of the mentally challenged man as the exploitation of the disabled or elderly is a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Now, Ramsey stands to lose his Medicaid benefits and SSI because of his winnings and their strict income guidelines and all he has to say to Tampa Bay Times is that, “They took my money!”