Rick Caruso’s dad made two fortunes, did jail time. How he shaped his son’s ambitions
Robert Caruso, left, and his son, Robert Jr., were both destined to be wealthy beyond their wildest dreams.
It was a happy moment, Robert Caruso realized, when his son, Robert Jr., asked him to buy lottery tickets for him. He had bought an initial $500 deposit as a down payment to help pay for a college tuition scholarship he wanted to attend.
“What did you think?” the son asked, according to a transcript of the conversation that was introduced in a Pennsylvania courtroom at Robert Caruso’s trial for the attempted murders of his wife, Lori, and their 6-year-old son, Robbie.
“Nothing,” Caruso said. “It would be a waste of time.”
Robert Caruso would later testify that his son’s decision to gamble on his own future was more than an act of charity. It was the way he thought about life, he said, and he wanted his son to understand he was ready to take risks that he could no longer live without.
In the nearly three-year span from 2003 to 2006, Robert Caruso’s life revolved around lottery pools, and the life-changing events that followed those moments of whimsy and good fortune.
He became a millionaire, he started the lottery company that bore his name, he bought a $20 million home in suburban Philadelphia. He was arrested in 2009 on multiple charges that he failed to register as a sex offender from the state of Arkansas, and he spent more than a year in prison after being indicted on charges related to the killings of his wife and son.
On Monday, Robert Caruso, 65, was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The state of Pennsylvania is asking that he serve between three and five years before he is eligible for parole.
It’s unlikely Robert Caruso will ever be able to enjoy the life he might have lived. But as the man he would come to be, he is an example of what happens when a “generational tragedy” — one with consequences that stretch far beyond