People all over the world dream about how their lives would change drastically if only they won the lottery. You can’t blame them, of course. The idea of suddenly waking up rich is pretty difficult to resist!
However, for every happy story about someone whose life was changed for the better by their winnings, there seems to be a story marked by tragedy. These are the highs and lows of what winning the lottery can look like, as evidenced by 14 lottery winners…
Winning the lottery is a dream shared by people all over the world. There’s something appealing about the notion of buying a ticket for a few bucks and waking up a billionaire the next day!
While some lottery winners go on to lead very happy lives, the sudden massive fortune is more difficult for most people to handle. Ironically, their windfall becomes what ends up ruining their lives. Here’s what became of just 14 recent lottery winners…
1. David Lee Edwards: This Kentucky man won $27 million and spent most of it on lavish items like cars and airplanes, as well as mansions in Florida. The excess went to his head; within three years, he’d developed hepatitis from chronic drug use. He died penniless surrounded by rat feces.
2. John and Lisa Robinson: This couple from Tennessee won a massive jackpot of $1.5 billion! You’d think that kind of money would destroy them, but the couple has remained humble, choosing to retire early with their fortune and live quietly out of the spotlight.
3. Merle and Patricia Butler: When the Butlers won $218 million, they could’ve gone hog wild! Instead, the couple’s first call after winning their millions was to hire a financial advisor. Talk about smart!
4. Michael Carroll: This London man was just 19 years old when he won $14.4 million in 2002. Carroll was already a petty criminal known by police when he won. In fact, when he went to collect his winnings, he was wearing an ankle monitor!
Carroll squandered all of his winnings on partying and building a massive mansion that he and his friends eventually destroyed. Carroll now lives in the woods outside of Scotland and works part time at a cookie factory. He currently has $3 in his bank account.
5. Steve Tran: This Californian immigrant was working at a local deli when he won $648 million! As soon as he realized it wasn’t a joke, he called his boss and handed in his notice. Now, he still works at a deli… but this time, it’s one he owns!
6. Billy Bob Harrell Jr.: In 1997, Billy Bob Harrell Jr. won $31 million, which he spent on buying homes for his family members and giving away much of his money. A little over two years later, the pressure became too much for him, and he took his own life.
7. Gloria MacKenzie: This grandmother was 84 years old when she won a $590 million jackpot! She wouldn’t have won at all if the woman in line ahead of her hadn’t allowed her to go first because MacKenzie seemed ill. Talk about lucky.
8. Jack Whittaker: This man was already rich when he won $315,000; he was reportedly worth $17 million at the time. He used his winnings to lavish his granddaughter with cash, but his charity would pave a tragic road for her. After getting mixed in with the wrong crowd, she died of a drug overdose.
9. Cindy and Mark Hill: When this couple hit the jackpot, they were over the moon. They won $293.8 million, and as soon as their six-year-old heard about it, she knew the time was finally right: she asked for—and received—a pony.
10. Superstorm Sandy winners: After Superstorm Sandy destroyed their homes, these 16 friends banded together to buy a lottery ticket. They wound up winning more than $86 million to divide between them.
11. Abraham Shakespeare: This man was working a nine-to-five when he won $30 million and his life changed forever. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for the better. The money attracted the likes of Dee Dee Moore, who would seduce—and then murder—him.
12. Louise White: In 2012, White won more than $336 million after taking a quick trip to the grocery store. To make matters even more interesting, this was the first time the woman had ever purchased a ticket in her life!
The reason she went to the grocery store in the first place: to buy a container of rainbow sherbet. Rather than spends her millions, however, White put them into a fund for her family appropriately dubbed “the Rainbow Sherbet Fund.”
13. William Post: Post won $16 million when he hit it big, but it didn’t bring him happiness. Not long after winning, his brother tried to have him murdered. Later, his ex-wife sued him for half his earnings. He died $1 million in debt.
14. John and Linda Kutey: When the Kuteys won a jackpot of $319 million, they didn’t mind splitting the winnings with their friends and family. In fact, they did something pretty exceptional with their windfall…
The Kuteys actually donated a portion of their winnings to fund the opening of a local water park for the neighborhood children! What a selfless way to give back to the community.
While winning the lottery seems to have brought some people happiness, you can’t argue with the fact that, for others, winning the lottery wound up being something that totally destroyed their lives. Manage your finances wisely!
Reading these stories might make a person think twice about buying those scratch-offs at the store, doesn’t it?
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