Abraham Shakespeare

A man from Florida won millions on a lottery ticket, but did his good fortune run out when he abruptly vanished?

The rags-to-riches tale of Abraham Shakespeare begins in his hometown of Plant City, a rural area famed for its expansive strawberry fields and orange orchards. Growing up in the impoverished community, he toiled in the fields to support his family.

Abraham’s buddy Greg Smith said, “I think he wished, hoped, and prayed that he would win the lotto, but he was not a particularly fortunate person.” “He left school to go to work to see what he could do about helping his family.”

But on November 15, 2006, Abraham and his friend Michael Ford went to a nearby store. Abraham gave Ford some money and told him to use it to buy two lottery tickets. He won $31 million that night.

Abraham agreed to pay out $16.9 million and then bought homes for his cousins to show how kind he was. He also helped his friend Greg Smith, a barber in the area, pay off a $87,000 business loan. Smith agreed to pay off Abraham’s debts by giving him money over time.

David Clark of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department said, “He bought a home in north Lakeland that was his dream home.” “It was a little mansion.”

But Abraham, who didn’t know how to read or write and didn’t go to school, seemed to be in over his head.

“It was scary because he didn’t know how to handle his money. He had a group of people around him, but he didn’t know half of them, Abraham’s cousin Tammy Edom told the producers. “He couldn’t read, and they knew it. They knew he wasn’t able to write. They knew that he could only sign his name.

“He was their cash cow,” said Cedric Edom, who was his cousin. “They milked him every day.”

Abraham was down to his last $2 million less than two years after he got rich. But Lady Luck came into his life when he met Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore through a mutual friend. She offered to write a book about Abraham’s life and tell his story. As they talked about the details, she realised that he was quickly losing all of his money.

Abraham gave Dee Dee permission to take over as his financial advisor. She told him not to leave the house so that people who wanted some of his money wouldn’t find him. He shut himself off in his big house.

When Abraham’s family and friends couldn’t reach him for a few weeks, the only person who knew him well, Dee Dee Moore, told them that Abraham had to leave. She also said that Abraham sent her text messages telling her he was fine.

Abraham’s family didn’t think it was completely out of the question.

Cedric Edom said, “He did say he wanted to leave town.” “We wanted to help him because he was trying to fulfil everyone else’s dreams and never had time for himself.”

But after seven months of silence, Edom told the police that Abraham was missing.

Abraham’s mother told the police that she had gotten strange text messages from her son, who couldn’t read or write.

Clark said, “This was more than just a missing person case.” “A lottery winner who won more than $30 million went missing in this case.”

The long list of people who owed him money was looked at by investigators. There were a lot of people who could have been responsible for Abraham’s disappearance, but there was no proof and no leads for the police to follow. They went to Dee Dee Moore, who was the last person Abraham talked to. Moore was happy to share texts from Abraham, which showed that Abraham left on his own.

Dorice "Dee Dee" Moore
Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore 

When they found out that Michael Ford, the person who used Abraham’s money to buy the lottery tickets, had sued Abraham, the investigators thought they had hit pay dirt. Ford said that the money was his and that Abraham had taken it from him. In court, a judge decided that the tickets belonged to Abraham. But was Abraham’s disappearance due to Ford’s loss in court?

Ford denied any involvement, and the police found out that Ford was in Georgia when Abraham went missing.

In 2009, around Christmas, Abraham’s mother got a call from a private number. On the phone, there was a man who said he was Abraham. But her instincts told her that it wasn’t her son who was calling. She told the police, and they tracked down the call.

Greg Smith, the barber who took the $87,000 loan from Abraham, was the one who called.

Investigators found that the phone was in the parking lot of a busy shopping mall. While they were looking for Smith among hundreds of cars, they were surprised to see Dee Dee Moore pull up. They kept up with Moore as she pulled up next to Smith’s car. Moore got into Smith’s car and gave him a wad of cash.

The police followed Smith and stopped him. Smith helped out and said that Moore had paid him to call Abraham’s mother.

“I said, ‘Listen. “I did make that phone call,” Smith said. “’A lady paid me $5,000 to call and say I was Abraham Shakespeare.’”

“Greg really did seem surprised when we told him that something was going on with Abraham,” Clark said.

Authorities released Smith, but why would Moore stage a phony phone call? When they looked into her past, investigators noticed some red flags. Moore had been accused of fraud, theft, and starting fires in the past. She was also arrested for insurance fraud after lying about a couple of men who allegedly attempted to rape her and steal her car.

Authorities decided to bring Smith back in, requesting that he wear a wire and meet with Moore.

“I said, ‘Serious, man? I ain’t trying to chase that woman,’” said Smith. “But when authorities told me he’s a missing man, I believed that. So I said, ‘I’ll tell you what. What do you need me to do to help you out?’”

Smith placed the wire in an empty energy drink can and drove to the gas station to meet with Moore. Moore told Smith that she was being blamed for Abraham’s disappearance but would pay for someone to take the rap for it.

It was enough for investigators to attain a subpoena for her phone records. Upon examination, they found that after Abraham disappeared, the only calls and texts from Abraham’s phone were made to Moore. Compared with Abraham’s phone records, Moore’s cell phone pinged from the same cellular towers as Abraham’s.

Under the guidance of detectives, Smith called Moore and said he had a solution to her problem. Smith brought a man he claimed was his cousin to another meeting with Moore. The cousin, however, was an undercover cop.

“In that conversation, she finally admits that she believes Abraham is dead,” said Clark. “And that somebody shot him.”

The undercover cop said he’d go to prison for Abraham’s disappearance if Moore paid him $50,000 and provided the location of his body, claiming he needed his story to sound credible to detectives. Moore claimed Abraham was shot and that she knew where he was.

Later that evening, Moore requested to meet with Smith alone at a gas station. From there, she drove Smith from Lakeland to Plant City, where she’d purchased a house. She led him to a large cement slab in her backyard and said, “Tell your boy to dig six feet down, and you’ll find Abraham’s body.”

She also handed Smith the murder weapon, maintaining she got the gun from the unknown person who shot and killed Abraham.

On Jan. 25, 2010, authorities found the remains of Abraham Shakespeare exactly where Moore said they were.

“When we found out Abraham was buried under a slab in the backyard, it’s just devastating,” said Tammy Edom. “I couldn’t take it.”

Authorities found Dee Dee Moore at Abraham’s Lakeland mansion, which she claimed she’d purchased from him, and brought her in for questioning. In a videotaped interrogation on Feb. 2, 2010, Moore denied killing Abraham and stated that drug dealers killed him.

Unless she confessed, detectives had no proof she pulled the trigger. Looking further into her history, investigators visited her ex-husband. He said that on the night of Abraham’s murder, Moore had him use a machine to dig a hole in her backyard and fill it in after sundown. The ex-husband claimed he had no idea there was a body at the bottom. Authorities determined the man, who had never before met Abraham, was not involved in his murder.

Circling back to Moore, she claimed she was a victim when men stormed into Abraham’s home and killed him. She was allegedly forced to cover up the crime.

“A guy come in and shot him. Took everything we had in the safe for cash and left with it,” Moore told detectives in the taped interview. “They put a gun in my mouth. I peed my pants. I was scared.”

She provided a name to detectives, but it turned out to be a dead end. As her story came apart, prosecutors charged her with murder.

At trial, it was revealed that Moore spent Abraham’s money on lavish gifts, including a $70,000 Corvette for her boyfriend, a $30,000 truck for herself, Rolex watches, and diamond rings.

By the time Abraham’s body was found, he had only $10,000 left to his name.

In 2012, a jury found Dee Dee Moore guilty of first-degree murder. A judge sentenced her to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“For her to kill him, it was just like, ‘Why?’” said Tammy Edom. “’He would have bought you anything. He woulda gave you what you wanted.’ To me, that was senseless.”

Dee Dee Moore remains incarcerated at the Lowe Correctional Facility in Ocala, Florida.

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