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Mega Millions Lottery: Benefits and drawbacks of office pools

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While there is always the dream of winning the historic $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot all by yourself, many Americans are also turning to office pools as a way to potentially increase their odds.

The prospect of having a share of a larger pool of lottery tickets is one compelling reason to go in on an office pool. But there are others, too.

Carole Bober Gentry, a spokesperson for the Maryland Lottery and Mega Millions, said that office pools are extremely popular ahead of Tuesday’s drawing.

“People love to do office pools,” she said. “When the jackpots get to this level, everybody is talking about it.”

She added, “It’s fun to talk about it with other people. It’s the opportunity to dream.”

That said, there are certain precautions that experts urge office poolers to take before the winning numbers are chosen.

How to protect your group

Such situations require written agreements before the winning numbers are drawn, Tracey Cohen, interim executive director of DC Lottery, told ABC News back when the Powerball lottery hit a high of $1.5 billion.

“If that pool wins, you’re going to want to keep your tickets safe and obviously it’s a legal issue,” she said.

Cohen urged pool organizers to make copies of the tickets for everyone in the group, write down a list of all involved and have one point person to sign the tickets when the winnings are collected.

For this Mega Millions round, Gentry echoed those warnings, urging poolers to appoint a responsible person in charge.

“You pick somebody you trust and people know who that person is, and as long as you follow a basic procedure, everything works perfectly,” Gentry said.

Keep track of claiming periods

Cohen also said that it is important to keep the claiming period in mind: the length of time that winners have to claim their ticket varies by state and depends on the state where the winning ticket was purchased.

Cohen said that in the District of Columbia, the claiming period is 180 days from the drawing. Most states have similar or slightly longer drawing periods.

Past cases of pooling wins

There have been examples in the past of both situations. A group from a real estate company in Florida won $1 million in 2013. They split the winnings among the 12 employees who chipped in $20 for the pool and also gave a cut to an employee who had started just two weeks prior and hadn’t contributed.

“The fact that we got to share in an experience that most never have in a lifetime — winning a Powerball — we grew closer,” said Laurie Finkelstein Reader, who works at that real estate office.

While that situation worked out fine, there have been less positive examples. There was a situation in California in 2005 when a group of colleagues from Kaiser Permanente were sued by four of their fellow employees who said that they had oral agreements to get in on the winning lotto pool. According to a recent Orange County Register interview with the winners, the suits were dismissed.

“You can’t believe people you worked with would do that,” Brenda Heller, one of the “Lucky 7” who split the winnings and ended up with more than $20 million after taxes, told the paper.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mega Millions Lottery: Benefits and drawbacks of office pools

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While there is always the dream of winning the historic $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot all by yourself, many Americans are also turning to office pools as a way to potentially increase their odds.

The prospect of having a share of a larger pool of lottery tickets is one compelling reason to go in on an office pool. But there are others, too.

Carole Bober Gentry, a spokesperson for the Maryland Lottery and Mega Millions, said that office pools are extremely popular ahead of Tuesday’s drawing.

“People love to do office pools,” she said. “When the jackpots get to this level, everybody is talking about it.”

She added, “It’s fun to talk about it with other people. It’s the opportunity to dream.”

That said, there are certain precautions that experts urge office poolers to take before the winning numbers are chosen.

How to protect your group

Such situations require written agreements before the winning numbers are drawn, Tracey Cohen, interim executive director of DC Lottery, told ABC News back when the Powerball lottery hit a high of $1.5 billion.

“If that pool wins, you’re going to want to keep your tickets safe and obviously it’s a legal issue,” she said.

Cohen urged pool organizers to make copies of the tickets for everyone in the group, write down a list of all involved and have one point person to sign the tickets when the winnings are collected.

For this Mega Millions round, Gentry echoed those warnings, urging poolers to appoint a responsible person in charge.

“You pick somebody you trust and people know who that person is, and as long as you follow a basic procedure, everything works perfectly,” Gentry said.

Keep track of claiming periods

Cohen also said that it is important to keep the claiming period in mind: the length of time that winners have to claim their ticket varies by state and depends on the state where the winning ticket was purchased.

Cohen said that in the District of Columbia, the claiming period is 180 days from the drawing. Most states have similar or slightly longer drawing periods.

Past cases of pooling wins

There have been examples in the past of both situations. A group from a real estate company in Florida won $1 million in 2013. They split the winnings among the 12 employees who chipped in $20 for the pool and also gave a cut to an employee who had started just two weeks prior and hadn’t contributed.

“The fact that we got to share in an experience that most never have in a lifetime — winning a Powerball — we grew closer,” said Laurie Finkelstein Reader, who works at that real estate office.

While that situation worked out fine, there have been less positive examples. There was a situation in California in 2005 when a group of colleagues from Kaiser Permanente were sued by four of their fellow employees who said that they had oral agreements to get in on the winning lotto pool. According to a recent Orange County Register interview with the winners, the suits were dismissed.

“You can’t believe people you worked with would do that,” Brenda Heller, one of the “Lucky 7” who split the winnings and ended up with more than $20 million after taxes, told the paper.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Melinda Gates on the responsibility that comes with her name

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood(NEW YORK) — Throughout her life and career, Melinda Gates has strived to be a voice for marginalized people around the world, working to the bridge the gap of inequality, especially for women. For her it is a responsibility that comes with being Melinda Gates.

“I think you grow into a name over time. It’s taken me quite some time honestly.” Gates tells ABC News’ Chief Business, Technology and Economics correspondent, Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

“I’m in this position by luck. No other reason. I fell in love with Bill [Gates]. He fell in love with me. We decided to get married … if you’re in this position you have to do something for the women that you’ve met.”

Gates began her career at Microsoft in 1987 and worked her way up to become the General Manager of Information Products where she eventually managed a team of almost 2,000 people. It’s there that she met her future husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and the two were wed in 1994. When she decided to leave the workforce she says her husband was shocked.

“I actually shocked him when I told him I was going to leave. I had already made that decision and he was completely shocked because he knew how much I loved my career,” Gates said.

Despite leaving Microsoft, Gates always knew she would eventually go back into the workforce in some capacity and she says it was her husband who actually gave her the push to go back “maybe even sooner” than she would have.

Today she is the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is one of the largest private foundations in the United States working to reduce inequality around the world. But it is her passion for helping women that led to the creation of Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company she founded three years ago to focus on women’s equality issues in the United States and to increase the number of women in the technology sector.

“I would often be flying home from these trips in the developing world thinking about equality and realizing we don’t actually have equality for women anywhere yet in the world,” she said.

Last year all-female led startups only received about 2.2% of the total $85 billion invested by venture capitalists, according to PitchBook. And for women of color that number drops to about 1%. Through Pivotal Ventures, Gates is hoping to raise that percentage by investing in VC’s who are increasingly supporting female and minority entrepreneurs such as AllRaise, Aspect Ventures and the Female Founders Fund.

Gates said that the low percentage says more about the investors than the founders.

“I have met women — so many women who feel that they are voiceless; they’re voiceless in their communities, sometimes in their families, they certainly are voiceless on the global stage, she said. “And so I just have decided that at some point I would have to step into this name and into this role and give them a voice.”

“That’s what I do almost no matter what room I walk into these days,” Gates added.

Hear more from Melinda Gates on episode #106 of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Melinda Gates on the responsibility that comes with her name

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood(NEW YORK) — Throughout her life and career, Melinda Gates has strived to be a voice for marginalized people around the world, working to the bridge the gap of inequality, especially for women. For her it is a responsibility that comes with being Melinda Gates.

“I think you grow into a name over time. It’s taken me quite some time honestly.” Gates tells ABC News’ Chief Business, Technology and Economics correspondent, Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

“I’m in this position by luck. No other reason. I fell in love with Bill [Gates]. He fell in love with me. We decided to get married … if you’re in this position you have to do something for the women that you’ve met.”

Gates began her career at Microsoft in 1987 and worked her way up to become the General Manager of Information Products where she eventually managed a team of almost 2,000 people. It’s there that she met her future husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and the two were wed in 1994. When she decided to leave the workforce she says her husband was shocked.

“I actually shocked him when I told him I was going to leave. I had already made that decision and he was completely shocked because he knew how much I loved my career,” Gates said.

Despite leaving Microsoft, Gates always knew she would eventually go back into the workforce in some capacity and she says it was her husband who actually gave her the push to go back “maybe even sooner” than she would have.

Today she is the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is one of the largest private foundations in the United States working to reduce inequality around the world. But it is her passion for helping women that led to the creation of Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company she founded three years ago to focus on women’s equality issues in the United States and to increase the number of women in the technology sector.

“I would often be flying home from these trips in the developing world thinking about equality and realizing we don’t actually have equality for women anywhere yet in the world,” she said.

Last year all-female led startups only received about 2.2% of the total $85 billion invested by venture capitalists, according to PitchBook. And for women of color that number drops to about 1%. Through Pivotal Ventures, Gates is hoping to raise that percentage by investing in VC’s who are increasingly supporting female and minority entrepreneurs such as AllRaise, Aspect Ventures and the Female Founders Fund.

Gates said that the low percentage says more about the investors than the founders.

“I have met women — so many women who feel that they are voiceless; they’re voiceless in their communities, sometimes in their families, they certainly are voiceless on the global stage, she said. “And so I just have decided that at some point I would have to step into this name and into this role and give them a voice.”

“That’s what I do almost no matter what room I walk into these days,” Gates added.

Hear more from Melinda Gates on episode #106 of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

If you win the Mega Millions $1.6 billion jackpot in some states, you can remain anonymous

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As the Mega Millions jackpot heads toward a record $1.6 billion drawing Tuesday, some ticket-holding hopefuls may wonder if they would be able hide their identities if they won.

The lottery prize is now the biggest ever in the U.S.

Some financial experts advise winners of big lottery prizes to try to remain anonymous.

But only a handful of states allow winners to decide whether they want to stay anonymous. Some states have a law explicitly requiring that lottery winners be publicly identified.

Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina all allow lottery winners to remain anonymous if that’s what the winners prefer, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

Arizona lottery winners of $600 or more can remain anonymous for 90 days after winning their prizes, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming. After 90 days, the winners’ identities become part of the public record meaning the information about the winne ‘s identity and the amount of the winning prize is subject to a public records request. Those in the interest of the information could find out by filing a request with the lottery that sold the ticket.

In Georgia, winners can choose against having their identities released publicly if their prize is larger than $250,000.

Most states have laws allowing the lottery that sold the ticket to make such information public.

In Michigan, Mega Millions and Powerball winners must step forward publicly, but winners of other state lottery games can remain anonymous should they choose, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

Some states allow winners to claim their prize through a trust to avoid publicity.

In Maryland, however, a lottery winner can choose to remain anonymous only if they don’t claim the prize through a trust, Maryland Lottery and Gaming said.

New Hampshire requires winners to go public. However, a judge in Concord, New Hampshire, in March allowed the winner of a $560 Powerball jackpot to keep her identity private despite her having signed her ticket with her actual name.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

If you win the Mega Millions $1.6 billion jackpot in some states, you can remain anonymous

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As the Mega Millions jackpot heads toward a record $1.6 billion drawing Tuesday, some ticket-holding hopefuls may wonder if they would be able hide their identities if they won.

The lottery prize is now the biggest ever in the U.S.

Some financial experts advise winners of big lottery prizes to try to remain anonymous.

But only a handful of states allow winners to decide whether they want to stay anonymous. Some states have a law explicitly requiring that lottery winners be publicly identified.

Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina all allow lottery winners to remain anonymous if that’s what the winners prefer, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

Arizona lottery winners of $600 or more can remain anonymous for 90 days after winning their prizes, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming. After 90 days, the winners’ identities become part of the public record meaning the information about the winne ‘s identity and the amount of the winning prize is subject to a public records request. Those in the interest of the information could find out by filing a request with the lottery that sold the ticket.

In Georgia, winners can choose against having their identities released publicly if their prize is larger than $250,000.

Most states have laws allowing the lottery that sold the ticket to make such information public.

In Michigan, Mega Millions and Powerball winners must step forward publicly, but winners of other state lottery games can remain anonymous should they choose, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

Some states allow winners to claim their prize through a trust to avoid publicity.

In Maryland, however, a lottery winner can choose to remain anonymous only if they don’t claim the prize through a trust, Maryland Lottery and Gaming said.

New Hampshire requires winners to go public. However, a judge in Concord, New Hampshire, in March allowed the winner of a $560 Powerball jackpot to keep her identity private despite her having signed her ticket with her actual name.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Powerball jackpot rises to $620M, third-largest in game’s history

Posted on: October 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The day after nobody won a $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot, the numbers were drawn for a relatively paltry Powerball prize of $470 million. But, like Mega Millions, no one took home the Powerball, and the pot continues to rise.

The winning numbers for Saturday’s drawing were 16, 54, 57, 62, 69 with a Powerball of 23.

With no one claiming the big prize, the Powerball drawing on Wednesday — one day after a $1.6 billion Mega Millions drawing — will be $620 million. The cash payout is approximately $354.3 million. The Powerball is the third-largest in the game’s history and sixth-largest in U.S. lotto history.

There were a number of runner-up prizes. There were $2 million winners in Florida and Tennessee, and $1 million winners in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Washington.

The first five balls were drawn from a pool of 69 and the Powerball from a pool of 26, making the odds of getting all six numbers correct 292,201,338 to 1, according to the Powerball website.

A single winning ticket on Saturday would have been eligible for a cash payout of $268.6 million.

Combined with a new Mega Millions jackpot of $1.6 billion, there is more than $2 billion in top-prize money between the two lottery games — and millions more available for subordinate prizes.

The Mega Millions top prize of $1.6 billion has a cash payout option of $904 million, but both can grow depending upon the volume of ticket sales.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

No winner means Mega Millions rises to record $1.6B jackpot

Posted on: October 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Emilie Richardson/ABC News(NEW YORK) — If you’re checking your numbers Saturday morning for the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot, you’re not a grand-prize winner. But neither was anyone else.

The next Mega Millions jackpot will be an estimated $1.6 billion — the highest total in U.S. lottery history. The cash payout is $904 million.

“We’re in unchartered territory,” Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director and the director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming, told Good Morning America on Saturday.

The drawing will be Tuesday at 11 p.m.

And the record jackpot can increase between now and then.

“Hold on to your hats,” Medenica said. “It could go up even further.”

When asked if the grand prize could hit a shocking $2 billion, Medenica said, “Anything’s possible.”

“I don’t want to jinx it,” he added.

The numbers drawn Friday night for the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history were 15-23-53-65-70 and a Mega Ball of 7. A single winner taking the cash lump sum would have received about $565.6 million.

There were a number of smaller winners in Friday’s drawing, including 15 people who won at least $1 million for matching each white ball. New York had the highest number of second-prize winners — with four. One ticket in Texas was worth $2 million for matching all five white balls and doubling the total with the Megaplier.

The Mega Millions jackpot has skyrocketed since the July 24 drawing when a group of 11 co-workers in Santa Clara County, California, shared a $543 million jackpot, the game’s fourth-largest.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Chinese broadens its propaganda drive to heartland America

Posted on: October 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Chinese broadens propaganda drive to heartland America with an unusual placement in Iowa paper

Amazon reviews: Inside the murky world of pay-to-play

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

An Amazon buyer showed ABC News correspondence from a third-party seller who offered him a $30 gift card to change a bad review to a good one.

Marijuana company heads to New York Stock Exchange

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

A Cannabis company plans to list on the NYSE on Oct. 23.

Marijuana company heads to New York Stock Exchange

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

rgbspace/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The New York Stock Exchange is about to get greener. Canada-based Aurora Cannabis plans to start trading on the NYSE on Oct. 23, the company announced Thursday.

The move comes in spite of the fact U.S. financial institutions are still barred from doing business with marijuana companies, be it financing the businesses or accepting deposits or allowing employees to open personal bank accounts.

Aurora Cannabis is allowed to be listed in the U.S. because it’s not an American firm. A weed company in, say, Colorado wouldn’t be permitted to list shares because of federal law.

“The Exchange has broad discretion regarding the listing of a company,” Lisette Kwong, a spokeswoman for the NYSE, wrote in an email to ABC News.

Canopy, based in Ontario, became the first weed producer listed on the NYSE earlier this year under the ticker CGC. It also trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange as WEED.

Canada legalized recreational marijuana use for adults this week. It remains illegal in the U.S. under federal law, although many states have decriminalized it in some form.

Because the U.S. federal government still classifies pot as an illegal controlled substance, U.S. banks cannot technically accept deposits from marijuana businesses and are subject to money-laundering rules. However, a growing number of state-chartered banks and credit unions are experimenting with cannabis businesses.

Experts have said Canada’s legalization may spur more investment into the cannabis industry as a whole.

“U.S. institutional investors who have not understood the industry, or had concerns about the regulations, now that we’re ready to go, you might see more institutional investors, whether in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world, start to allocate money or capital into the sector,” said Jesse Pytlak, an analyst with Cormack Securities.

As a result of U.S. federal law, most marijuana is purchased with cash, not credit cards, causing a problem for dispensaries that end up hoarding greenbacks until massive deposits can be made.

“Previously, these businesses have literally laundered their money, whether it’s using a product like Febreze or some other scent-covering agent to try to deposit these large sums of cash,” Amanda Avret, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Bankers Association, said. “Tellers have stopped those deposits by literally smelling the money.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New tax break rules for ‘opportunity zone’ investors

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Government proposes tax break rules to lure ‘opportunity zone’ investors

Amazon reviews: Inside the murky world of pay-to-play

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Poike/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Jeff, a home builder in Lasalle, Illinois, said he bought a battery adapter for his cordless drill on Amazon, and it worked for about an hour before it broke.

So Jeff, who asked that his last name not be used in this story, wrote a review saying just that.

He said the third-party seller emailed him later, asking him to delete the review in exchange for a $30 Amazon gift card. The seller also asked how to improve the product, according to emails Jeff shared with ABC News.

“I figured, Why not? That would cover my loss on the adapter,” Jeff wrote in an email. “I ended up changing it to a positive review because I couldn’t delete it. Seller did thank me and sent me a code for Amazon. Sure enough there was a $30 credit in my acct. I was leery of this somehow being a scam but figured I could always put a bad review back up.”

Amazon has been criticized over the credibility of customer reviews as the number of third-party sellers using its platform has skyrocketed, creating a potential cottage industry of fake reviews.

The third-party seller who supplied Jeff’s battery adapter didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

Recently, Amazon fired an employee for sharing customers’ email addresses with a third-party vendor, though it didn’t provide details on who the seller was or where it was located. In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, the company also said it was “supporting law enforcement in its prosecution.”

It’s unclear how questionable such pay-for-play tactics are in the world of e-commerce, assuming they don’t explicitly violate the terms and conditions laid out by a company like Amazon, whose Anti-Manipulation Policy states that “any attempt to manipulate reviews, including by directly or indirectly contributing false, misleading or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited.”

“When you hear about a commercial reaction like that, it sounds shady,” said Simeon Siegel, an analyst at Instinet, a tech-focused firm that’s part of Nomura Securities. “But would we feel the same way if a restaurant manager comped a meal after someone complained? Should we be thinking about it through an old-school lens, when some sort of compensation would be implicit?”

In September, Amazon confirmed the company was investigating a Wall Street Journal report that employees had offered to disclose sales data and delete negative consumer reviews for third-party sellers in exchange for payment. It’s unclear whether the recent termination was related to that investigation.

Amazon didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the company’s Anti-Manipulation Policy also states: “Customers trust that they can shop with confidence on Amazon. Reviews provide a forum for sharing authentic feedback about products and services — positive or negative.”

The company also told the Journal that sellers found to be in violation of its customer review policy would face discipline. “We have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them,” a company statement read.

“Reviews allow e-commerce to bridge the gap of brick-and-mortar stores — it allows customers and brands to reach a larger audience,” Siegel said. “But one part of the equation is the ability to try to make it right.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mega Millions prizes keep skyrocketing as ‘people want to see bigger jackpots’

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The record $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot is the latest prize to balloon to astronomical figures — and officials say they’re giving people with dreams of winning exactly what they want.

“People wanted to see bigger jackpots,” Carole Gentry, a spokeswoman for the Mega Million Group and managing director of communications at Maryland Lottery and Gaming told ABC News.

The drawing for the Mega Millions prize will be Friday night.

The prizes for lotteries have jumped recently, officials said. Gentry said starting jackpots also increased to $40 million from $15 million last year to “allow for bigger, faster-growing jackpots.”

Lottery players used to pick five numbers from 1 to 75 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 15, with nine different prize levels ranging from $1 to the jackpot available for the players to catch.

The odds of winning the jackpot prize were 1 in 258 million, and the overall odds of winning a prize at any of the nine prize levels was 1 in 14.71 million.

As recently as last year, the price for the ticket was $1.

But that all changed last year.

The odds of winning the second-tier prize of $1 million were improved by the matrix changes, Gentry said.

Before October 2017, the odds of a $1 million prize were 1 in 18.49 million. Since October 2017, the odds of a $1 million prize are 1 in 12.6 million.

And the ticket price is now $2.

Players now pick five numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25 with nine different prize levels, now ranging from $2 to the jackpot.

The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302 million, and the overall odds of winning a prize at any of the nine prize levels is 1 in 24 million.

“Longer odds for the jackpot and better odds for all of the other prize levels,” Gentry said. “It increases the chance of winning the second tier million dollar prize and the lower prizes. And it allows the jackpots to increase at a faster larger rate.”

The modification also was made to attract players from all walk of life.

“We also know that when the jackpots are larger, we start seeing many groups of co-workers, friends or relatives buying tickets together. It becomes something that people share with others around them,” she said.

Before the drawing Tuesday, the previous Mega Millions record jackpots was $656 million, which was shared by winners from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland in March 2012.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mega Millions prizes keep skyrocketing as ‘people want to see bigger jackpots’

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The record $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot is the latest prize to balloon to astronomical figures — and officials say they’re giving people with dreams of winning exactly what they want.

“People wanted to see bigger jackpots,” Carole Gentry, a spokeswoman for the Mega Million Group and managing director of communications at Maryland Lottery and Gaming told ABC News.

The drawing for the Mega Millions prize will be Friday night.

The prizes for lotteries have jumped recently, officials said. Gentry said starting jackpots also increased to $40 million from $15 million last year to “allow for bigger, faster-growing jackpots.”

Lottery players used to pick five numbers from 1 to 75 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 15, with nine different prize levels ranging from $1 to the jackpot available for the players to catch.

The odds of winning the jackpot prize were 1 in 258 million, and the overall odds of winning a prize at any of the nine prize levels was 1 in 14.71 million.

As recently as last year, the price for the ticket was $1.

But that all changed last year.

The odds of winning the second-tier prize of $1 million were improved by the matrix changes, Gentry said.

Before October 2017, the odds of a $1 million prize were 1 in 18.49 million. Since October 2017, the odds of a $1 million prize are 1 in 12.6 million.

And the ticket price is now $2.

Players now pick five numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25 with nine different prize levels, now ranging from $2 to the jackpot.

The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302 million, and the overall odds of winning a prize at any of the nine prize levels is 1 in 24 million.

“Longer odds for the jackpot and better odds for all of the other prize levels,” Gentry said. “It increases the chance of winning the second tier million dollar prize and the lower prizes. And it allows the jackpots to increase at a faster larger rate.”

The modification also was made to attract players from all walk of life.

“We also know that when the jackpots are larger, we start seeing many groups of co-workers, friends or relatives buying tickets together. It becomes something that people share with others around them,” she said.

Before the drawing Tuesday, the previous Mega Millions record jackpots was $656 million, which was shared by winners from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland in March 2012.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mega Millions jackpot soars to a record $1 billion

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Emilie Richardson/ABC News(NEW YORK) — The Mega Millions jackpot on Friday jumped to a record $1 billion.

The drawing for the prize will be on Friday night. A single winner taking the cash lump sum would receive about $565.6 million.

“This is truly uncharted territory, and it’s exciting to see people across the country buying their tickets and joining in the fun,” said Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions Lead Director and the Director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming in a statement Friday. ” Hitting the $1 billion mark for the first time is historic, and we can’t wait to meet the winner s who will share in that history.”

Meanwhile, the jackpot for Powerball skyrocketed to almost half a billion after no one won Wednesday.

The winning numbers for Powerball, a comparatively meager sum of just $345 million, were 3-57-64-68-69 and a Powerball of 15. One person in Florida won $2 million, while tickets in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Kentucky each were worth $1 million.

The pot rises to $430 million for Saturday’s drawing. The cash payout is $248 million.

The next drawing for Powerball is Saturday.

But the record numbers are being left to the Mega Millions jackpot, set to be drawn on Friday. The projected prize would be the second-largest payout in U.S. lottery history.

The only lottery payout in history that was larger than Friday’s $1 billion total was a Powerball drawing for $1.59 billion in January 2016. Three winners split that total.

The Mega Millions numbers drawn on Tuesday were 3, 45, 49, 61, 69, and a Mega Ball of 9. Nine people matched all five white balls. Eight won $1 million each, and another also got the Megaplier to win $5 million.

Before the drawing Tuesday, the previous Mega Millions record jackpot was $656 million, which was shared by winners from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland in March 2012.

“It’s always a thrill to have both jackpots rolling, but there’s an extra spark now with Mega Millions reaching a new record,” Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director and Maryland’s lottery and gaming director said in a statement on Tuesday. “Everyone is talking about the jackpot and running out to buy tickets for tonight’s drawing.”

The Mega Millions jackpot has skyrocketed since the July 24 drawing when a group of 11 coworkers in Santa Clara County, California, shared a $543 million jackpot, the game’s fourth-largest.

More than $1.4 billion in combined potential prize money remains up for grabs, with Saturday night Powerball prize estimated at $430 million — or a one-time cash prize of nearly $248 million and Friday’s Mega Millions prize at $1 billion.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

A tech investor brought cell phone voting to West Virginia, igniting debate about access and security

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — A few hundred West Virginians are poised to cast a federal election vote on their cell phones this November. And depending on the outcome, they’ll have Bradley Tusk to thank — or to blame.

Tusk, a 45-year-old former political operative and early Uber investor who once specialized in helping the rideshare giant beat taxi regulations, is bankrolling an effort to allow West Virginians serving in the military or living overseas to cast absentee ballots through an app on their smartphones.

Modernizing voting to make it easier, Tusk says, is the answer to the low voter turnout plaguing our “dysfunctional, polarized democracy,” and he hopes to see the program expand to other constituencies and other states in the near future.

“It’s a system that was built for an agrarian society 250 years ago,” Tusk told ABC News. “People do it if you make it easy enough, but if you don’t make it easy enough, they’re not going to.”

It’s believed to be the first time U.S. voters in a federal election will make their mark via smartphone app, but what might otherwise be celebrated as a pioneering milestone is instead saddled with suspicion.

Tusk’s project comes at a time of heightened concerns over vote hacking following Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, when many election-security watchdogs –- both inside and outside of government -– are calling on states to move back to paper ballots.

Lawrence Norden, a prominent election security expert at the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, didn’t hesitate to deliver a harsh verdict on the project.

“I think it’s a horrific idea,” he said, suggesting states should focus on spending money to enhance cybersecurity rather than rolling out new voting methods.

West Virginia’s voting app has ignited a debate over what’s more important –- using new technologies to expand voting access to those who may have a hard time casting ballots or protecting the integrity of the vote itself from the hacking of those new and potentially vulnerable technologies.

Tusk, the developers of the app, and election officials in West Virginia all say the tradeoff is worth it. Election-security experts are, to say the least, not so sure.

Here’s how it works. According to a state-issued video tutorial, voters will download an app, called Voatz, and use it to take pictures of their government-issued ID cards (West Virginia implemented a voter-ID requirement this year) and verify their identities by taking selfies and letting the app match them to the faces on their IDs.

“With the option of mobile voting for uniformed and overseas citizens,” the video’s narrator said, “West Virginia is leading the nation in serving those who serve us.”

The app uses blockchain technology, which will store a record of a vote several different computers or servers at different locations, each of them checking the record against each other. It won’t say who owns those computers, but it has hinted that some will be its own and some will belong to the state government.

The scope will be extremely limited. Following a two-county trial run in the state’s May primary in which 16 votes from six different countries were cast, the state hopes that between 200 and 400 votes will be cast via Voatz in November.

Tusk led the effort to connect a reliable app with a willing state, and when he found Voatz and West Virginia, he put up the money to make it happen. Through his philanthropy, Tusk Montgomery Philanthropies, Tusk has already spent $250,000 to subsidize the project in West Virginia, and he says he’s prepared to spend “eight figures” —- at least $1 million —- to advance it elsewhere.

He says he is negotiating with other jurisdictions to adopt cellphone voting in some municipal and state elections next year.

Tusk insists he’s not in it for the money — he has no plans, he says, to invest in Voatz or any other voting-app startups –- but he has nevertheless set an ambitious goal.

“I want everyone to be able to vote on their phones because I want everyone to be able to vote,” Tusk said.

West Virginia, for its part, does not share Tusk’s expansionist attitude. The state only plans to use cellphone voting for military and overseas absentee voters.

The state’s top election official, Secretary of State Mac Warner, served in Afghanistan and entered office with a priority of making it easier for service members to vote while serving overseas. His son, an active service member, was the first to cast a cellphone vote in the state’s primary, Warner’s spokesman said.

Any risk in using the new technology is worth the reward of making it easier for service members to vote, Warner said.

“When you get sent into harm’s way, you want to have a voice in who sent you into harm’s way. You want to vote for the person who’s gonna get you out of harm’s way,” Warner told a gathering of election officials at an Election Assistance Commission summit on election readiness in Washington, D.C., this month. “That’s what we’re facing.”

Election watchdogs, meanwhile, are less than thrilled.

“They’ve done nothing to demonstrate in a public way why it’s been secure,” Jeremy Epstein, vice chair of the Association for Computing Machinery Technology Policy Committee, said of Voatz.

Tusk, the company and the state point to an audit following its May trial run that revealed no problems.

National election watchdogs aren’t satisfied. They want to see the results of audits Voatz has conducted to assess security before a live election is effectively used as a test run for a new technology.

“They’re not thinking a lot of this stuff through very much, because I think they’re too hell-bent on the outcome,” said Susan Greenhalgh, policy director at the National Election Defense Coalition.

Experts have been urging states to move back to paper and use the $380 million Congress appropriated this spring for election upgrades to do away with paperless electronic voting machines and sure up cybersecurity practices —- not to move further into electronic voting territory.

Voatz co-founder and CEO Nimit Sawhnney argued that the risk is worth the reward.

“Nothing’s 100 percent safe. We know that. Even the paper ballot system we currently use is not 100 percent safe,” Sawhnney told ABC News. “But there are safeguards built in, and you accept risks and rewards and you move ahead.”

As for the state, Warner has made his case.

“It’s much more secure than taking a paper ballot, sending it overseas, letting it sit in a dusty mail room,” Warner said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nebraska’s pitch to tourists: ‘Honestly, it’s not for everyone’

Posted on: October 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Nebraska Tourism Commission(Nebraska) — Nebraska knows the state is “not for everyone” and it’s proud of that in a new ad campaign.

“We’re just simply not on people’s shopping list for a vacation,” said John Ricks, executive director of the Nebraska Tourism Commission, on ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast.

New Nebraska Tourism advertisements boast of the state’s “flat, boring landscape” and “dusty” Great Plains as part of a self-deprecating marketing campaign to tackle its “brand apathy” problem.

Nebraska Tourism Commission“You can’t change perceptions just by providing information, so we had to be disruptive in some way,” Ricks said of the sarcastic ads.

One print ad points out “there’s nothing to do here” as a group floats down a river in a livestock tank, or what Nebraskans refer to as “tanking.”

Nebraska Tourism CommissionNebraska is trying to lure tourists who are interested in an “unpretentious and uncomplicated” vacation, and as the campaign’s tagline notes: “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”

“We’re not looking for everybody,” Ricks said on “Start Here.” “This place isn’t for everybody, as any state isn’t for anybody.”

The #HonestlyNE campaign will launch in out-of-state markets beginning in spring 2019.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mega Millions jackpot soars to record $970 million with no winner since July

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Emilie Richardson/ABC News(NEW YORK) — The Mega Millions jackpot on Thursday jumped to $970 million.

The drawing for the prize will be on Friday night.

No one won the big prize in Powerball on Wednesday.

The jackpot for Powerball has skyrocketed to almost half a billion after no one won.

The winning numbers for Powerball, a comparatively meager sum of just $345 million, were 3-57-64-68-69 and a Powerball of 15. One person in Florida won $2 million, while tickets in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Kentucky each were worth $1 million.

The pot rises to $430 million for Saturday’s drawing. The cash payout is $248 million. the next drawing is Sat Oct 20.

But the record numbers are being left to the Mega Millions jackpot, set to be drawn on Friday. The projected prize would be the second-largest payout in U.S. lottery history.

A single winner taking the cash lump sum would receive about $513 million.

The only lottery payout in history that was larger than Friday’s $900 million total was a Powerball drawing for $1.59 billion in January 2016. Three winners split that total.

The Mega Millions numbers drawn on Tuesday were 3, 45, 49, 61, 69, and a Mega Ball of 9. Nine people matched all five white balls. Eight won $1 million each, and another also got the Megaplier to win $5 million.

Before the drawing Tuesday, the previous Mega Millions record jackpot was $656 million, which was shared by winners from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland in March 2012.

“It’s always a thrill to have both jackpots rolling, but there’s an extra spark now with Mega Millions reaching a new record,” Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director and Maryland’s lottery and gaming director said in a statement on Tuesday. “Everyone is talking about the jackpot and running out to buy tickets for tonight’s drawing.”

The Mega Millions jackpot has skyrocketed since the July 24 drawing when a group of 11 coworkers in Santa Clara County, California, shared a $543 million jackpot, the game’s fourth-largest.

More than $1 billion in combined potential prize money remains up for grabs, with tonight’s Powerball prize estimated at $430 million — or a one-time cash prize of nearly $248 million.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

MoviePass under investigation by state of New York for misleading investors

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The New York attorney general’s office has launched an investigation into whether the parent company of MoviePass, Helios and Matheson, misled investors about their finances, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed to ABC News.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood opened the investigation under her authority to protect investors in companies that are publicly traded on the exchanges located in New York.

CNBC, which first reported the investigation, reported that the probe falls under New York’s Martin Act, an anti-fraud law.

Helios and Matheson, which purchased a majority stake in MoviePass in August 2017, announced it would be lowering its price to $10 per month. Subscribers were allowed to see one standard 2D movie per calendar day at any participating theater, including major chains such as AMC and Regal.

“We are aware of the New York Attorney General’s inquiry and are fully cooperating,” the company said in a statement provided to CNBC. “We believe our public disclosures have been complete, timely and truthful and we have not misled investors. We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate that to the New York Attorney General.”

The company’s stock price has collapsed in 2018. Helios and Matheson finished the day Wednesday trading at just 20 cents per share after reaching a year-to-date high of $2,442.50 on Jan. 23. The stock had dropped to half its high by mid-February and under $100 by June 5.

MoviePass began implementing various restrictions on its service earlier this year. In April, the company no longer allowed subscribers to view the same film more than once. MoviePass installed peak pricing, a surcharge for any movie deemed to be in high demand, in July.

Peak pricing was suspended the following month when the company changed its monthly subscription plan to allow for just three movies per month.

“MoviePass reserves the right to change or modify the Service or subscriptions at any time and in its sole discretion,” the company stated in its most recent terms of use, “including but not limited to applicable prices, at any time, without prior notice.”

Theater chain AMC launched its own subscription service, titled A-List, in July. Under this service, users are able to see up to three movies per week, including those in 3D and IMAX. Unlike MoviePass, A-List subscribers are able to reserve seats on the mobile app ahead of its listed showtime.

The New York attorney general’s office declined to comment.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

MoviePass under investigation by state of New York for misleading investors

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The New York attorney general’s office has launched an investigation into whether the parent company of MoviePass, Helios and Matheson, misled investors about their finances, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed to ABC News.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood opened the investigation under her authority to protect investors in companies that are publicly traded on the exchanges located in New York.

CNBC, which first reported the investigation, reported that the probe falls under New York’s Martin Act, an anti-fraud law.

Helios and Matheson, which purchased a majority stake in MoviePass in August 2017, announced it would be lowering its price to $10 per month. Subscribers were allowed to see one standard 2D movie per calendar day at any participating theater, including major chains such as AMC and Regal.

“We are aware of the New York Attorney General’s inquiry and are fully cooperating,” the company said in a statement provided to CNBC. “We believe our public disclosures have been complete, timely and truthful and we have not misled investors. We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate that to the New York Attorney General.”

The company’s stock price has collapsed in 2018. Helios and Matheson finished the day Wednesday trading at just 20 cents per share after reaching a year-to-date high of $2,442.50 on Jan. 23. The stock had dropped to half its high by mid-February and under $100 by June 5.

MoviePass began implementing various restrictions on its service earlier this year. In April, the company no longer allowed subscribers to view the same film more than once. MoviePass installed peak pricing, a surcharge for any movie deemed to be in high demand, in July.

Peak pricing was suspended the following month when the company changed its monthly subscription plan to allow for just three movies per month.

“MoviePass reserves the right to change or modify the Service or subscriptions at any time and in its sole discretion,” the company stated in its most recent terms of use, “including but not limited to applicable prices, at any time, without prior notice.”

Theater chain AMC launched its own subscription service, titled A-List, in July. Under this service, users are able to see up to three movies per week, including those in 3D and IMAX. Unlike MoviePass, A-List subscribers are able to reserve seats on the mobile app ahead of its listed showtime.

The New York attorney general’s office declined to comment.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Inside America: How steelworkers view the midterm elections

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Steelworkers are approaching the midterms with optimism and wariness.

MoviePass under investigation for misleading investors: Source

Posted on: October 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The service’s stock price has collapsed in 2018.

Powerball draws numbers as Mega Millions jackpot soars to $900 million

Posted on: October 17th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Emilie Richardson/ABC News(NEW YORK) — Powerball pulled its numbers on Wednesday as the prize for Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot has crept past $900 million earlier in the day.

The winning numbers for Powerball, a comparatively meager sum of just $345 million, were 3-57-64-68-69 and a Powerball of 15. The cash option will pay out $199 million.

But the record numbers are being left to the Mega Millions jackpot, set to be drawn on Friday. The projected prize would be the second-largest payout in U.S. lottery history. A lone winner taking the cash lump sum would receive about $513 million.

Mega Millions announced that Tuesday’s jackpot of $667 million would have been a new record for that game. The only larger lottery payout was a Powerball drawing for $1.59 billion in January 2016. Three winners split that.

The Mega Millions numbers drawn on Tuesday were 3, 45, 49, 61, 69, and a Mega Ball of 9. Nine people matched all five white balls. Eight won $1 million each, and another also got the Megaplier to win $5 million.

Before the drawing Tuesday, the previous Mega Millions record jackpot was $656 million, which was shared by winners from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland in March 2012.

“It’s always a thrill to have both jackpots rolling, but there’s an extra spark now with Mega Millions reaching a new record,” Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director and Maryland’s lottery and gaming director said in a statement on Tuesday. “Everyone is talking about the jackpot and running out to buy tickets for tonight’s drawing.”

The Mega Millions jackpot has skyrocketed since the July 24 drawing when a group of 11 coworkers in Santa Clara County, California, shared a $543 million jackpot, the game’s fourth-largest.

More than $1 billion in combined potential prize money remains up for grabs, with tonight’s Powerball prize estimated at $345 million — or a one-time cash prize of nearly $200 million.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Twitter releases ‘motherlode’ of data on alleged Russian, Iranian influence operations

Posted on: October 17th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Twitter(NEW YORK) — Twitter has released data on more than 10 million tweets from nearly 4,000 accounts it said were linked to Russia and Iran, which paint a more nuanced portrait of the nations’ purported online influence operations.

The social media giant previously disclosed the operations and lawmakers released hundreds of suspected account names that Twitter said were linked to the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based “troll farm” that worked day and night to spread propaganda and stoke division online ahead of the 2016 election. But this is the first time the public and independent researchers have been given access to what data analyst Ben Nimmo described as the full “motherlode” of information.

Nimmo, an information defense fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab whose team was given a preview of the data in order to post their analysis with Twitter’s announcement, said that for all the attention given to Russia’s online influence in the U.S. ahead of the 2016 presidential election, he was surprised that the data showed that the “first targets and the first victims” were, in fact, Russian users.

“Particularly in the Russian dataset a lot more of the content was in Russian than in English,” said Nimmo. “It’s a really important reminder that the Russian troll farm started out as a tool of domestic repression. It then became a weapon abroad… They adapted it to the U.S. audience.”

Nimmo pointed to the blast of social media activity after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine, which international investigators blamed on Russia. On the day before the incident, accounts linked to Russia’s troll factory posted a total of 19,000 times. On the day after, the number jumped to 57,000, most of them using hashtags that blamed Ukraine.

“You can see that somebody hit the big red button that said, ‘Trolls, go troll,’” Nimmo told ABC News.

Only later did the Russians turn their attention to the U.S. election, where their goals evolved along with developments in the political race. While a full analysis of the ideological breakdown of the entire trove of tweets has yet to be undertaken, the DFRLab determined that the Russian trolls appear to have been surprisingly “non-partisan,” at least when it came to divisive issues.

“They tried to inflame everybody, regardless of race, creed, politics or sexual orientation,” the analysis said. “On many occasions, they pushed both sides of divisive issues.”

For example, DFRLab identified two Russia-linked accounts that straddled the gun control debate: “Mass shooting occurs even in #GunFreeZones so people is the problem not guns #Prays4California,” one said the day after the San Bernardino shooting. “mass shooting wont stop until there are #GunFreeZones #Prayers4California” another said.

Darren Linvill, a Clemson University professor who with his colleague Patrick Warren previously analyzed some 3 million tweets linked to Russia, told ABC News that influencing the elections might not have been their only – or even their primary – goal.

“The primary goal was be divisive and get Americans to question each other and question institutions,” he said.

As for the Iranian operation, Nimmo said it was less widespread and “much, much clumsier” than the Russians’. It consisted of about a million tweets from 770 accounts that mainly attempted to get Twitter users to go to websites that hosted pro-Iran, anti-Israel or anti-U.S. content.

“It used fewer personalities, which is much less effective,” Nimmo said.

In releasing the dataset, Twitter said the move was “in line with our principles of transparency and to improve public understanding of alleged foreign influence campaigns.” Twitter and Facebook have come under increasing pressure to counter the spread of inauthentic accounts on their platforms, including those linked to foreign state-sponsored actors.

Linvill called Twitter’s disclosure a “great first step,” and said the data could prove of great analytic value when it comes to understanding online influence operations but he still expressed some concern about what he called “a look back at history.”

“The way in which the IRA changes its behavior almost completely year-to-year, this won’t be particularly helpful to understand what they’re doing now,” he said. “The way they operated in 2016, 2017, looks nothing like they’re doing now.”

Nimmo said he hopes that the release of the information will help not only researchers but also average Twitter users to understand the need to be cautious online and “extend that idea into the political sphere.”

“Part of this is basic street wisdom online,” he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Uber driver who allegedly groped customer charged with kidnapping, wire fraud

Posted on: October 17th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An Uber driver has been charged in federal court after allegedly kidnapping a woman, groping her after she fell asleep and then charging more than $1,000 for the ride after abandoning her on the side of a highway.

Harbir Parmar, 24, of Howard Beach, New York, was charged in White Plains Federal Court with kidnapping and wire fraud, officials with the Southern District of New York said on Tuesday.

On Feb. 21, a woman from White Plains requested an Uber in Manhattan to take her home, according to a complaint filed with the FBI. Parmar picked up the woman around 11:30 p.m., and she fell asleep in the back seat.

Parmar stands accused of changing the destination in the app to Boston, according to the FBI complaint. When the woman woke up, the vehicle was parked on the side of the road and Parmar had joined the woman in the backseat, placing his hand under the front of her shirt. As she reached for her phone to call for help, Parmar grabbed her phone and refused to give it back to her.

Parmar returned to the driver’s seat and continued driving, according to the complaint. The woman asked she be taken home or to a police station, but Parmar refused, dropping her off along a highway in Connecticut around 1:45 a.m.

The woman said she memorized the car’s license plate and went to a nearby convenience story seeking help. The next morning she saw that she’d been charged $1,047.55 for the ride.

“As alleged, Harbir Parmar was hired to transport a woman from Manhattan to her home in White Plains. Instead, Parmar kidnapped, terrorized and assaulted the woman before dumping her on the side of an interstate,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement. “No one — man or woman — should fear such an attack when they simply hire a car service.”

If convicted, Parmar could face life in prison for the kidnapping charge and 20 years for the fraud charge.

From December 2016 to February 2018, Parmar allegedly sent false information about customers’ destinations and overcharged them on more than 10 occasions. He’s also been accused of submitting false information related to cleaning fees. The improper charges totaled more than $3,600.

Uber said that the company blocked Parma from using its app in February and that he hadn’t taken a trip since the incident. Uber also provided information to investigators.

“What’s been reported is horrible and something no person should go through. As soon as we became aware, we immediately removed this individual’s access to the platform,” an Uber spokesperson told ABC News in a statement. “We have fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to support their investigation.”

The woman’s fare was refunded within days, Uber added.

Susanne Brody, a lawyer for Parmar, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday Mega Millions jackpot soars above $900 million

Posted on: October 17th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Emilie Richardson/ABC News(NEW YORK) — The prize for Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to more than $900 million after no one won it Tuesday.

The projected prize would be the second-largest payout in U.S. lottery history. A lone winner taking the cash lump sum would receive about $513 million.

Mega Millions announced that Tuesday’s jackpot of $667 million would have been a new record for that game. The only larger lottery payout was a Powerball drawing for $1.59 billion in January 2016. Three winners split that.

The Mega Millions numbers drawn on Tuesday were 3, 45, 49, 61, 69, and a Mega Ball of 9. Nine people matched all five white balls. Eight won $1 million each, and another also got the Megaplier to win $5 million.

Before the drawing Tuesday, the previous Mega Millions record jackpot was $656 million, which was shared by winners from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland in March 2012.

“It’s always a thrill to have both jackpots rolling, but there’s an extra spark now with Mega Millions reaching a new record,” Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director and Maryland’s lottery and gaming director said in a statement on Tuesday. “Everyone is talking about the jackpot and running out to buy tickets for tonight’s drawing.”

The Mega Millions jackpot has skyrocketed since the July 24 drawing when a group of 11 coworkers in Santa Clara County, California, shared a $543 million jackpot, the game’s fourth-largest.

More than $1 billion in combined potential prize money remains up for grabs, with tonight’s Powerball prize estimated at $345 million — or a one-time cash prize of nearly $200 million.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Asian shares climb on strong US corporate earnings, data

Posted on: October 17th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Asian shares climb as strong US corporate earnings, data dull concern over softening growth

What to know if you win the $868M lottery jackpot

Posted on: October 17th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The winner could take home $667 million, one of the largest jackpots in Mega Millions history.