Winning the lottery is something we’ve all dreamed about at some point. Most people enjoy fantasizing about a life full of mansions, lavish parties, and exotic vacations after they hit it big.
But not everyone who’s been lucky enough to win the lottery has ended up with good fortune. Sometimes, the luck of winning wears off and tragedy strikes. You then realize you may have been better off never receiving the money in the first place.
Here are 10 lottery winners whose fortunes eventually led to their untimely deaths. The next time you buy yourself a scratch-off ticket, be very careful…
1. Abraham Shakespeare: In 2006, a 40-year-old assistant truck driver named Abraham Shakespeare won $17 million, but his friend was actually the one who purchased the winning numbers. His friend unsuccessfully tried to sue his pal for $1 million. But that wasn’t the end of the drama…
Three years after Shakespeare won, he disappeared. His family went to the police, and officers eventually searched the property of Shakespeare’s business partner, Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore. There, they found his body buried underneath recently laid concrete. Moore was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life without parole.
2. Amanda Clayton: In September of 2011, Amanda Clayton won a million dollars on a Michigan gameshow called Make Me Rich! Soon after she won, however, a television news station received a tip-off that the mother of two was still collecting welfare.
She was charged with welfare fraud and was given a nine-month probation period. Sadly, three months later, police found her dead in her home. They believed she died from abusing too many over-the-counter drugs.
3. Ibi Roncaioli: In 1991, Ibi Roncaioli of Hungary won $5 million on a Canadian-based lottery game. Roncaioli and her husband, Joseph, were already well off with money due to his gynecology practice, but now they were much wealthier. However, the wealth didn’t bring along good fortune…
In 2003, Roncaioli was found dead in her home from an apparent accidental overdose. But, as police were investigating, it came to light that she had given $2 million to a man who fathered her son… and her husband didn’t know about it. Her husband was eventually convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to seven years behind bars for his wife’s death.
4. Billy Bob Harrell Jr.: In June of 1997, Texas resident Billy Bob Harrell Jr. won $31 million on the Texas Lottery. He quit his hourly job at Home Depot and showered his friends and his family with large sums of money.
All of his generosity came to a halt a mere 20 months after he won. He ran out of money completely and severe depression set in. He locked himself in a hotel and killed himself with a shotgun. Shortly before he died, he confessed to an investment specialist, “Winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
5. Craigory Burch Jr.: Fitzgerald, Georgia, resident Craigory Burch Jr. won nearly half a million dollars on the Georgia lottery in November of 2015. The 20-year-old forklift driver was stunned, as was his girlfriend and three children.
Just two months after he won, a group of thugs broke into his home one night and threatened his family with a shotgun. Bruch offered them his bank card, but they killed him anyway. Police caught all seven suspects and charged them with varying crimes, including Burch’s murder.
6. Urooj Khan: Chicago resident Urooj Khan bought a scratch-off ticket in 2012 and won $1 million. Because he owned a string of successful dry cleaning businesses in the city, he was already well-off. But he was still ecstatic to have won.
Just a few days after Khan accepted his lump-sum check, he mysteriously died. It was initially thought to be natural causes, but after the coroner’s report came back, police realized he had been poisoned with cyanide. The person responsible still remains a mystery to this day.
7. Keith Gough: In 2005, baker Keith Gough and his wife, Louise, won $12 million from the United Kingdom’s National Lottery. He quit the bakery business, and he and his wife began spending large amounts of money on their newly lavish lifestyle.
Only a couple of years after they won, Louise left Gough because his drinking had gotten out of control. Depression and stress set in hard, and five years after his initial win, he suffered a massive heart attack brought about by financial stress.
8. David Lee Edwards: In 2001, at the age of 46, Kentucky resident David Lee Edwards was jobless and had spent nearly a third of his life in and out of jail. But a winning Powerball ticket he bought won him $27 million. His luck had turned around. Or so he thought…
He planned on spending the money wisely, but shortly after he received it, he and his friends went on a massive spending spree buying narcotics; he apparently spent nearly $3 million in the first three months after his win. In 2013, he died in hospice, broke and friendless. It was only a dozen years after he’d claimed his earnings.
9. Gerald Muswagon: After purchasing a two-dollar Canadian Super 7 ticket, Gerald Muswagon found himself the lucky recipient of $10 million. The 42-year-old Winnipeg resident soon turned his house into a party pad, and he and his friends enjoyed a lavish life.
Gerald wasn’t exactly known for being a model citizen. He had numerous run-ins with the law in the past, and he had the criminal record to prove it. Even though he was a millionaire, his illegal antics still continued. He was arrested for dangerous driving and then for sexual assault shortly after. In 2005, he hanged himself in his parents’ garage.
10. Alex Toth: Alex Toth and his wife, Rhoda, lived in Hudson, Florida, and they struggled financially. Toth found it difficult to find work because of a disability, and his wife’s job as a nursing assistant didn’t pay much. But, in 1990, the couple hit the Florida lottery and won $13 million. They immediately headed to Las Vegas for a three-month stay at the Mirage Hotel.
After their Vegas bender, the couple began to have frequent fights over their finances. Their funds slowly dwindled away over the next few years, and in 2006, the couple was indicted for tax fraud. The stress was too much for Toth to handle, and he died while awaiting trial. His wife received a two-year jail term, and she was held responsible for paying back the IRS $1.1 million.
Yikes. This goes to show you that no matter how much money you have, it won’t solve all your problems. In fact, sometimes wealth can create issues on its own…
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