Long Islander Raffling Off Million-Dollar Home


long-islandThe current housing market is bright for first time home buyers, but for those trying to sell million-dollars homes, it could be a big challenge. After trying to sell his million dollar home on Long Island for a year and a half, one man has decided a raffle is a better idea. It sits on the water in Massapequa, Long Island and inside there is a beautiful staircase.

This home could be yours for $50. The owner – Scott Cicerone – has become so desperate trying to sell the $1.6 million home with no luck, he has decided to hold a raffle – selling 30,000 tickets for $50 a piece.

Cicerone says, “We bought the house in 2004. It was a one-level right on the water, so so we figured it was a nice piece of property. What we did was we built the house up to 4,000 square feet and we’re trying to sell it and in this market, it’s kinda, you know, it’s kinda crazy to sell house in this market. So, we decided to do a… little bit of a raffle.”

The drawing is set for December 15 and there’s more. If you win, you not only get the house, but a 2007 Mercedes-Benz.

{WCBS880/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Nice news article, clean, apolitical, heimish, and totally in tune with the frum velt’s desire for ostentatious living for the cost of a raffle ticket. The only thing missing is the phone number of the mekubal who will guarantee that your ticket is the winning one.

  2. If you win you would have to pay taxes on the value of your prize, i.e., the house. This has been a old problem of winners of game shows; they come out winning expensive stuff but don’t have the actual cash to pay the tax on it.

  3. I just checked the website listed above. They write that the winner will receive a 1099 (like a W-2) for the value of the property, which is estimated at 1.6 million. You will need to pay income tax on that 1.6 million which can hit $640,000 considering state and federal taxes. There’s no “hiding” this from the IRS as they will receive the same 1099 that was issued to the winner.

  4. You can always take out a mortgage to pay the taxes… the loan-to-value ratio would make it a bargain for the bank, assuming you have some income…

  5. nice scam. Scott and his business partner bought this house in 2005 for a little over 500K. Tore it down, got a construction loan and built this new ugly house. The new property taxes have not yet been assessed, but looks like they would be close to 20,000 for the new owner (right now they are about 15,000). Guess they owe the bank alot of money from the primary mortgage and the construction loan. So they are a bit desperate. If they dont sell more than 25,000 tickets, well they keep 2% of each raffle (about 20 to 25K). The houses on this street median price is below 500K, you would be getting an overpriced overbuilt house in this neighborhood.

  6. The person who said it was a scam and that the other house on the block aren’t worth as much, do you know the address or just the street name? I am just interested to see what the other house are like

  7. Are all you people stupid?
    O.K. Here’s the deal:
    The house (17 Lincoln Place, Massapequa N.Y. Nassau County) value is $750,000, that’s according the County assessors office of Nassau County, and you can see for yourself at “mynassauproperty.com” this is based on recent similar home sales in the area.

    If you are unlucky enough to win, you will pay taxes on $1.5 million dollars which could be about $400,000. If you win in 2009 you owe in April of 2010!
    It is considered lottery winnings by the IRS. You are not taxed on the value of the home (which is much less). You won $1.5mm b/c that was the lottery amount. If you think you will sell this house and profit, good luck. It’s been on the market for years.
    Take the 50bucks and have a nice dinner…you’ll thank me.

  8. unlucky enough?

    WEIRD. Worst case if you did have to pay 400k in taxes you could easily sell this house and make a tremendous profit. If you paid 50$ for this house, won it, sold for 700k (less than what you claim it’s worth) you would walk away with 300k in your pocket for a 50$ lottery ticket.

    That sounds very lucky to me.

    Stop trying to get people not to do this.

  9. To the poster of comment #26 and #32 (same person?, how did you come about your info on the owner and his partner? Is the interview he gave to the news crew total fluff? Was it a business deal and no one ever lived in the home?

    The premise of a raffle for a home is a good one. Good for the seller who cannot unload his home, and good for the buyer who cannot afford to purchase. That is, of course, if the house is properly valued and the raffle is done properly and honestly, with a refund if enough raffles are not sold.

    I really would like to know the story behind this. Anyone?

  10. One other thing I do not understand. I looked up the house and it appears to be currently worth $743,600.00.

    How does he get away with assessing the raffle price at more than twice the value? Aren’t there regulations governing a raffle, and wouldn’t that be illegal?

  11. I agree with #32 Chris and double back LaLa # 36. You are all stupid. This guy needs to get the money out of the raffles to pay his construction loan. (well 30K x 50 is 1.6 double the prop value)Not to mention we are in a decreasing housing market) You are getting a home that has been on the market since 2005 (almost 5 years) Think about it why is that? It is because it is not worth the value that the owner needs to get from the prop. He stated he could not sell because the market well people do you read the news think about it when did the market really flip I believe 2007. so why was it just sitting for 2 years in prime market when all housing reached it peak. Good luck to all!! Hope you get a refund for your raffle if he does not sell enough! What a scam!!!

  12. With home prices continuing to slide and profitable home sales hard to come by, a new sales vehicle has sprung up in real estate – the house raffle. [1] While a raffle can sell a home quickly and for the full retail price, it is fraught with pitfalls. A wholly private house raffle is illegal and considered “gambling”
    The lucky raffle “winner” gets a very valuable house for a tiny fraction of its price. However, the “winner” also gets a nasty tax bill from Uncle Sam that must be paid in cash, even though the winner does not receive any cash.

  13. I agree with Chris #32 and double back LaLa #36. You are all stupid! I suggest before you buy the raffle that you might want to research. I myself would love to say I grew up in a Million dollar neighbor but unfortuantly I cannot. This guy is raffling his home because he needs to get the money to pay his construction loan. Well as you read in the article he states he is raffling this home because he cannot sell due to the market. Well, what he left out was that it has been on market since 2005. Think about it people 2006 and 2006 were in the prime real estate market. The market was in its peak. So why did it not sell because it was over priced for the neighborhood? I know you all read the news the real estate market crash started in 2007. You will be winning a home for more than its value and paying for it.
    Here are some things just by googling how IRS treats Real Estate raffles ( With home prices continuing to slide and profitable home sales hard to come by, a new sales vehicle has sprung up in real estate – the house raffle. [1] While a raffle can sell a home quickly and for the full retail price, it is fraught with pitfalls. A wholly private house raffle is considered “gambling”. The lucky raffle “winner” gets a very valuable house for a tiny fraction of its price. However, the “winner” also gets a nasty tax bill from Uncle Sam that must be paid in cash, even though the winner does not receive any cash.The “winner” gets the joy of filing out IRS Form 5754, “Receipt of Gambling Winnings.”They send the winner a W2-G and “withholds” 25% of the winnings.) then you have your property taxes on top of it all!!! So please research before buying your raffle ticket and to all that entered good luck!!!

  14. Does anyone know if anyone ever lived in the home.

    Who is John Luongo and why does he say he is the owner of the home? As far as I can tell, the owner is Scott Cicerone. Are they partners or what?

    I looked both up and while I cannot find Mr. Luongo, I did find a reference to Mr. Cicerone. He was listed as being a member of the GreenPearl site which is a development company. However, when you click the link on google, it gives you an error message. Mr. Cicerone seems to have deleted his info! Too bad you can never erase something from the internet completely. Just click on Cached and it gives you info to his external sites.

    I do not really think it is necessary to call people stupid. Set the record straight if need be.

    Most of the people here seem to have a bit of knowledge as to how to research things, but there are some that do not…the elderly for one. I can’t tell you how many times I had to explain to my Mom why such and such is a rip-off. It also doesn’t help that this was not something that was just circulated online. A known reporter from a major news network actually taped a segment from the home.

    I have to say, I only live a few towns away, and didn’t even flinch when they quoted what the homes value was. I just assumed it was correct.

    What gets me is how dishonest he is being, and I think he should be called on it. Send a note to Scott Rapoport, the reporter who taped the video.

    If he actually gave the correct value, the taxes to be paid next year would amount to a little less then $200K…not a bad price to pay for a home.

  15. If you win you will owe taxes on the lottery of $1.5mil. You will most likely have to $650,000 in taxes to the IRS! I see he some how got “ZILLOW.COM” to value the home at $1.5 mil. I don’t know how! Every other home on that block is worth about $450,000.

  16. I still dont understand how some people just hate for the sake of hating. If you do your research you will find that you have up to 60 days from the drawing to take possession of the property. That means you can easily take possession after January 1st and not be responsible to pay any income taxes on the prize until April 2011. I researched the street and found most of the other houses are not on the water so you can NOT compare their values. Similar homes to the one being given away (size and waterfront) are all over 1million plus you only pay taxes on the current market value of the prizes at time of inception so if they are assessed at 750k, thats less taxes you have to pay…smarten up america!

  17. There are three other homes on the same street that ARE on the water, and they are not valued anywhere near $1.5M. You should also look at the homes that are on the other side of the canal as well, there are 6 of them…compare their values…nowhere near $1.5M.

  18. To Not a Hater:
    How would you feel it that house were next to yours or on your nice quiet dead end street? how would you feel seeing traffic on your block of potential neighbors and praying that they don’t win. We’re not haters, we just hate what they’re doing to our nice, happy dead end street!

  19. Not a hater…you didn’t research very well. There is not one house over a million. Most are in the 500K range with one somewhere around 700k.

    The point isn’t that he valued the house too high…it wouldn’t matter in the real market because no one would buy it, and it would still be on the market. What matters is that he doubled the price, which means you will pay double the tax. Now that wouldn’t matter if it just concerned a few bucks, but when it means a couple of hundred thousand, it is a big deal.

    To Poster #45…with a home sale, there would be potential buyers looking anyway. Instead of just complaining about it, do something. Write to Scott Rapoport (the reporter who first showcased the story) and tell him he was duped and should update his report.

    Ask Zillow.com to correct the amount showing for home to the reasonable town assess amount. Post on boards discussing this raffle, etc. Tell people the home has been sitting vacant.

    My guess is that he would not do a raffle if he was forced to assess the true value.

  20. Rumor has it- this house is on the verge of foreclosure or already is, the entire town is now talking about how this has to be a scam, and what these two so called business men are trying to do. I have not heard one good thing about this raffle and it has become a joke around Massapequa . The houses on the block do not like what he has done to the neighborhood. He is going to take your money and run,he will never follow through with this, and will try to have an excuse why it failed. You want to sell this house,fine put it on the market and deal with it like the rest are doing….Thanks for messing us over! See you on the news!

  21. Hey Bernie #33 if you cannot sell this house what makes you think anyone else could? Lucky? Profit? I thought you said you tried selling this house with no luck, if i win will i have to do a raffle too????

  22. I feel so sorry for the people of Massapequa who have to deal with all the traffic and that these two “so called business men” have wrongly imposed on them. And for all of you who purchased those raffles….wake up…if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, then it must be a duck!!!! These two are going to scam all of you out of your money and run for the hills. Isn’t it nice how they were throwing in that 2007 Mercedes. If the house is free and clear and the Mercedes is free and clear then why didn’t they just enjoy them and live happily ever after. Something doesn’t add up…your not going to get a portrait from an up and coming artisit, your going to get the royal mess up from two scam artists.

  23. Forgetting the IRS tax and the Real Estate taxes due, it is not legal in NY State to have a raffle more than $150,000., and most importantly it is not legal to raffle off real estate in NY State

  24. I always thought you paid taxes once you make money. What is the raffle tax? NYS has the gall to assume you made x amount of dollars and charge you taxes on a home that’s worth in reality 50 bucks? Yes why can’t it say you bought the house for 50 bucks? Im sure there’s a loophole that allows that. And if not then why can’t they call it an auction with a 50 dollar entry fee then have a drawing at the end. The owner chose to sell the house for 50 bucks which is the winning bid.

    Also when you buy a raffle do the sellers give you a signed form guaranteeing a clear title and fair raffle?

  25. Do you really think the government is going to let anyone sell a house for $50, they always have thier hands out. If you sell or gift a house below the total worth of the house, you have to pay taxes on what the house is worth. Good luck with over 500K in taxes and 20k per year for property taxes

  26. First of all, if anyone really read the details, ( talk about dumb) he’s not raffling the house for $50.00 a ticket. The raffle tickets are free when you purchase the art. Get it! Loophole! Buy the Italian art and get the raffle ticket FREE !!!!!!! So now the State of NY has nothing to say. It’s technically a free give-a-way
    The only thing I don’t like is that there is no mention of an independent CPA firm overseeing the raffle. I email them on this and never received an answer.

  27. the bottom line here is that if you win, can you sell the house and car for more than the taxes on $1.5m?

    If, for example, those taxes were $600k (assuming 39.6% top bracket), can you sell the car and house together for say, $700k?

    I know the house is overpriced but the question is by how much? Because if you can get anything over $600k you’d be happy to win.

    But in all likelihood you WON’T win (.003% chance) and you are throwing away $50.

  28. I think this plan will fail simply because too many people will be upset about the deal this guy is getting…i.e. selling his house for $1.5m…even though for the winner it will be profitable as well.

    If he raffled the house for fair market value he would have had a much better chance of success.

  29. Why is it everyone is thinking the taxes on the house will be based off the $1.6M value the owner was hoping to receive? I would think the income tax is based on the amount of income, which is based on the current fair market value of the house at closing (presumably sometime in January 2010). That being said, even 40% taxes plus the annual property taxes could be paid for several years out of a mortgage on the house with an additional several hundred thousand in instant equity, so I’m not sure where all of the negativity is coming from.

  30. i do see this is a great idea to help stressful homeowner to sell his house and payoff the loan of his property and start his life somewhere else. But to ease all doubt, he shall sell the house at the fair market price which back up by some licensed appraisers and the whole drawing process shall be taken as it was set. Any delay of the drawing just raise people’s doubt – holding up over half million for that long period of time. It is just not right.

  31. Did any of you who bought a ticket received a raffle ticket at all? I was told in an email they would send us physical tickets but after a certain point he stopped responding to any of my emails and i have yet to receive a ticket. I ordered in september 2009.

  32. I got 2. Checked the site today, no updates. The whole thing sounded fishy but I thought with media coverage they would be on the up and up.

  33. i wonder how many people didn’t receive theirs. Doesn’t it invalidate the raffle if people don’t even have their tickets? How they can possible give a fair drawing? Contacting them is extremely difficult as their posted number is only a recording and emails can be ignored. They might as well take the money and leave. Did the raffle even happen?

  34. Nope, didn’t happen and no updates. I wonder if the news stations that covered it will do a follow up. Should be interesting.

  35. This whole thing is so unorganized, they have our money they should keep us up to date, if they dont have that drawing we better get the 98% back !

  36. Hi,

    Please give me a call. I’m setting up a story about this and we’d like to interview people that bought raffle tickets tomorrow.

    I haven’t been able to get in touch with the homeowner either.

    Thank you,

    Anthony Cusumano
    Planning Editor
    News 12 Long Island
    P 516-393-1394
    F 516-393-1456

  37. The signs came down from the house over the weekend and the Benz is no longer in the drive way. Only a matter of time before they take the site down….

  38. I heard from my Dad who bought a ticket that it was on News 12 and it was a scarm, I dont have details but heard they said they “lost” the money. This guy is crazy for doing this, everyone knows where he lives

  39. I don’t know if this will help those who got messed up by this guy, but here’s some info I unearthed.

    If you do a whois search on the domain name of fromrafflestoriches.com you get this info:

    Administrative Contact:
    cicerone, scott blazetybu@hotmail.com
    17 lincoln place
    massapequa, New York 11758
    United States
    (631) 901-3614

    If you google that phone number (which is a Sprint Mobile Phone number) you get the following results:

    Cicerone Management Inc

    5110 Billage Cir E
    Manorville, NY 11949
    Phone: (631) 901-3614

    Cicerone Management Inc.
    1316 Orchid Circle , Bellport NY 11713

    Another note: One of the pictures from the site shows 315-498-0795 as a contact number. That is a Verizon Land line in Syracuse, NY.

    Another interesting search result according to zabasearch is that both Scott Cicerone & John Luongo both show as having resided at:

    A phone number associated with that address is (516) 541-2929. A google search of that phone number shows it linked to a company called Jml Consultants, located at the 17 Lincoln Place address.

    Another number for JML Consultants at the Lincoln address is (516) 795-2175

    Google Phone Book shows the 795 number belonging to Vladimir Aronsky of 17 Lincoln Pl,Massapequa, NY

    Well I hope I’ve been of some help, and remember, Google is your friend.

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    (04/06/10) MASSAPEQUA – Some Long Islanders are questioning the legitimacy of a raffle ticket they bought to win a mansion in Massapequa after the raffle date has been moved several times.
    The raffle drawing that was set for December 2009 was pushed to March 2010 and has now been pushed to July.

    The owner of the mansion, John Luongo, says he’s delaying the raffle because not enough tickets have been sold.

    The chairman of the New York Racing and Wagering Committee says only not-for-profits can raise money by raffles. He says it is illegal to raffle off real estate in New York.

    The district attorney’s office is opening an investigation into the raffle.