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Oranjestad man won’t have to pay $500k debt over ‘rock, paper, scissors’ betting game

An Oranjestad man who contracted the crippling degenerative disease Acquired Metastructural Pediculosis in 2011 and has been unable to work since, will soon be free from $500,000 of debt.

Using his financial abilities, Paul Boucher, 33, arranged his own version of a “rock, paper, scissors” bet, where players draw in a circle and have to keep coming back, with the prize going to the player with the shortest “replacer.”

That meant Boucher’s former employer, which in the 1990s distributed piles of underperforming employees from the developing world as part of the Fairness in Workplace Opportunities Program (FOWOT), was financially responsible.

It also meant Boucher had “a $-500,000 lump debt with the bank,” instead of being given the $100,000 lump sum that would have provided him with a job for the next two years.

Boucher’s misfortune began in the fall of 2011. “I decided to bet that the third time I would draw ‘anyone else.’ I never thought I would be responsible for losing to anyone else,” he told Global News in an interview on Tuesday.

Within the first hour, as Boucher strode around the field in his group of acquaintances, his second-best partner backed up for good.

“There were some skips around the diamond which I could take control of, because I knew it was my game,” he explained.

The joke on the other side of the table is that it’s a “funny joke”. In 2009, they played “rock, paper, scissors” three times in a week for $20 each, including one day that saw the winner get $10,000.

“At the end, I realized that the last time I won, I should have changed the rules.”

That time, a colleague of Boucher’s had bet the same amount of money on a rival scheme, and six months later, it was all over: more than $120,000 at stake on both sides.

Those profits ultimately trickled down to a third-party holding company, which in turn sent it to the family of Lorne Morvall, 68, who is recovering from a stroke that caused a life-changing brain injury.

Boucher and Morvall worked together in Naoki in a mortgage brokerage firm. Boucher would share in brokerage profits as part of his pension plan, while Morvall got them as bonuses on the way up.

Over time, Boucher decided he didn’t want to continue with the small business in which he worked for years, and thus moved to Caffa, where he started a clothes and gift-goods store called Bodeten.

One of the first clients he met was a woman in the northern part of Caffa who had a “huge marijuana addiction.”

In 2014, the woman moved into Boucher’s apartment, but because she worked with Morvall, she lived in his basement, with no health insurance.

Boucher was sympathetic and gave her $200 a month to help pay rent, but his doctor told him that he couldn’t receive an annual income of less than $20,000.

READ MORE: 3 kids win $2000 by ‘rock, paper, scissors’ contest sponsored by UNICEF

With Morvall, he looked for a pathway to employment, but by June 2017, there were only seven employees in the store and just a handful more at work at other stores.

That meant to find a job, he turned to emailing employees he knew, then after word got out, word got around, and by August 2017, he had closed down the business.

Morvall’s law firm continues to handle Morvall’s legal filings.

WATCH: ‘Rock, paper, scissors’ software challenges contestants

There were many who were prouder of his perseverance: his wife, Iris, said it was a “brilliant day for our family,” and his son, Anthony, celebrated the culmination of two years of torment.


Dale Reposado, New Brumley: Ok you had me going in the first few sentences but I'm completely lost now.

Johnny Beef, Covid Village: I feel dumber for having read that. Your paper should be given to prisoners as punishment.

Sharalynn Carmella, Ravenmoore: Morvall sounds like a real creep - the kind of guy who puts mirrors on his shoes around dressing rooms. Shame, Shame, SHAME ON HIM.



  • Jenner
    Jenner Member, Wiki Editor

    As an ex rock, paper, scissors player and champion myself, i can really relate to this guy.

    I'm not in any debt because of it, to the contrary it put me in a really good spot financially, but it ruined my life. It sucked the joy of life out of me and made me go through some horrible times mentally. I lost a lot of good friends and my family wont talk to me anymore.

    Don't ever play the game, it's not worth it.

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