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Friday, February 24, 2006

Westport’s Alan Abel in Iowa Powerball Hoax

Westport ‘s Alan Abel is just back from doing what he likes to do best – pulling off a hoax. This time it was in Nebraska, home to this week’s $365 million Powerball winners.

Abel, aided by several others, briefly convinced many in the media that the winner was a boisterous, unemployed trucker from Omaha, according to the Des Moines Register.

A man posing as the lottery winner, under Abel’s guidance, spent midday Monday buying lunch for a roomful of strangers at a Village Inn in Lincoln, the newspaper said.

It said Bob Pagani of Pacific City, Ore., 54, took the starring role in the hoax as the faux trucker/jackpot winner who walked into the restaurant with $2,000 cash and a photocopy of the supposed winning ticket.

“Two others hired to portray the lotto winner’s niece and adopted son accompanied Pagani. Abel loitered outside. None of them phoned the media, and yet the first reporter arrived within 15 minutes,” the newspaper reported.

“Pagani remained at the restaurant for a couple of hours, at one point with five cameras in his face while also flanked by persistent radio and print reporters.”

Abel, who has made a career of pulling off stunts and hoaxes, told the newspaper from his Westport home: “It’s really a terrible thing to win the Powerball.”

He then rattled off anecdotes about previous lotto winners’ lives falling apart as they grappled with greed and logistics in the wake of their windfall, the newspaper said.

“It’s worthy of making fun of, like the Super Bowl. I once had a fake official in the bowl,” he said.

Abel, 81, has made elaborate hoaxes his calling card. His daughter even filmed an award-winning documentary about it, “Abel Raises Cain.”


Posted 02/24/06 at 01:15 PM  Permalink


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“He (Andy Kaufman) wanted to collaborate on something really fantastic and enormous, but we could never figure out what it would be. He was especially fascinated with how I had gotten people to believe I was dead. He’d say, “How can I do that? I want to do that.’” –Alan Abel the world’s greatest hoaxer

“If I do go ahead with my plan, I will do so by pretending to have cancer”—Andy Kaufman

In a sworn statement to authorities Lynne Margulies has admitted to shaving Andy Kaufman’s head leading people to believe it was caused by cancer treatment.

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Posted by A. Geoffrey Kaufman on March 04, 2006 at 04:07 AM | #