25 Really Lucky (Stupid) Lottery Winners Who Lost It All

Ever dreamed of being rich? Possible by winning the lottery? It is exciting to think what we would do if we were lottery winners. Maybe buy a car or pay off all debts, buy a jet or travel the world, the possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. Many winners go bankrupt in a matter of a few months or years either due to their negligence or bad investment decisions. In this list, we’ll tell you about the 25 lottery winners who lost it all.

1) Janite Lee – $18 million (1993)

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Janite Lee, a St. Louis wig shop owner, won $18 million in the year 1993. The 52-year-old lady went on a philanthropic spree where she lost everything. Lee supported a variety of causes from politics to education and helping her community. By throwing money at various government programmes and political organisations, it did not take too long before Lee found herself in trouble. Within a span of ten years, she filed for bankruptcy and ended up in debt. Her intentions were good but her investments were not.

2) Amanda Clayton – $1 million (2011)

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Amanda Clayton, a 24-year-old lady, won $1 million through a lottery. She failed to tell the welfare authorities who continued to issue her food stamps (state welfare money) of $200 a month. She was eventually forced to repay more than $5,000. She was found dead due to an apparent drug overdose. In Amanda’s case, she thought she could outsmart the welfare people and do serious drugs without consequence, which led her to lose it all.

3) David Lee Edwards – $27 million (2001)

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David spent many years in the jail for robbery. His fortune changed when he won $27 million in a Powerball jackpot. But as soon as he got his first check, he went on an insane spending spree. David blew his money on a luxurious house, drugs, exotic sports cars, 3 losing racehorses, women and even a jet. Five years later, his money was gone. Edwards died 12 years after winning the lottery and in his final days he struggled with drug addiction.

4) Suzanne Mullins – $ 4.2 million (1993)

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Suzanne Mullins won $4.2 million in the Virginia lottery but ended up deep in debt to a company that lent her money — she used her winnings as security. She borrowed $197,746.15, which she agreed to pay back with her yearly checks from the Virginia lottery. The rules changed later and she could then collect her winnings in a lump sum. She couldn’t manage the money and started skipping her loan payments. The company sued Mullins and won a judgment against her for $154,147. Presently, Mullins has no assets at all and the company is yet to collect.

5) Callie Rogers – $3 million (2003)

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Callie Rogers was only sixteen when she won £1.9 million in the UK lottery. She went on to have two children and spent her money on partying, vacations, gifts for friends and even a couple of breast improvement surgeries. She attempted suicide four times and spent £250,000 (about $380,000) on cocaine. Currently, Rogers lives in a modest house and is training to become a nurse with three children. However, despite the major setback, Ms. Rogers, says it’s only now she feels content and happy for the first time since her win.

6) Abraham Lee Shakespeare – $30 million (2006)

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Abraham, a truck driver’s assistant who won $30 million in the Florida lotto, took his winnings and disappeared. Nobody knew where he was and his family declared him missing in 2009. In January 2010, his body was found buried 5 feet under a concrete slab in the backyard of a house purchased by his financial advisor, Doris “Dee Dee” Moore. He’d been shot twice in the back. Police took Moore into custody on February 2, 2010, in connection with the murder of Shakespeare. She was convicted of first-degree murder and is currently serving a life sentence.

7) Lou Eisenberg – $5 million (1981)

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Eisenberg won $5 million in the New York Lottery (the largest payout at the time), which he accepted in $219,000 annual instalments ($130,000 after taxes) for the next 20 years. People started asking him for advice about money. It turned out that he was the one who needed advice since the former multimillionaire ended up living in a mobile home somewhere in Florida on $250 a week from social security and pension checks. Having survived two heart operations, he was coping with the pain of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. He found happiness living with his girlfriend, Jane Anne Walker, a teller at the track. He said he had enjoyed the glam life and has few regrets about spending it all.

8) William “Bud” Post – $16.2 million (1988)

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William “Bud” Post, won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988. One of the first things he did was try to please his family. His problems included a brother who tried to murder him, a wife who forced him to give her one-third of the jackpot and other siblings who harassed him for loans. He was thrown in jail for firing a gun at a bill collector. William was in $1 million in debt within a year and had to declare bankruptcy. Today, he lives on food stamps and social security.

9) Denise Rossi – $1.3 million (1996)

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When Denise Rossi won $1.3 million in the California lotto, she left her husband without a word and never looked back. For 25 years, Denise felt trapped in an unhappy and loveless marriage to Thomas Rossi. She kept quiet and tried to be an obedient wife until 1996. She shocked her husband by demanding a quick divorce. He did nothing to stop her, but after two years, he found out why and he hit back by suing Denise for not disclosing her winnings in the divorce. Therefore, the judge awarded Mr. Rossi every single penny of the winnings and Denise lost it all.

10) Martyn and Kay Tott – $5 million (2001)

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Martyn Tott and his wife Kay missed out on a $5 million lottery fortune after losing their winning lotto ticket. After hearing a TV petition about the unclaimed jackpot and recognising the numbers as their own, they had turned their flat upside down looking for the ticket without success. Camelot officials investigated their claim for seven weeks and were satisfied that it was genuine. But because there was a 30-day time limit on reporting lost tickets, it was concluded that the company had no legal powers to pay up and the jackpot became the largest unclaimed amount.

11) Evelyn Adams – $5.4 million (1985 & 1986)

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Evelyn Adams got lucky not once but twice when she won the lottery on two different occasions in 1985 and again in 1986 for about $5.4 million in total. The New Jersey native, however, blew nearly $5.5 million by gambling it away in Atlantic City and was also bled dry by relatives looking for hand-outs. Currently, she lives in a trailer park.

12) Luke Pittard – $1.8 million (2006)

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Luke Pittard won a £1.3 million jackpot ($1.8 million in U.S.) in 2006, but a year and a half later, he was flipping burgers at McDonald’s. He spent a portion of his prize money on a trip to the Canary Islands, lots of booze, a flashy wedding and a house. After only 18 months, he returned to his previous job because he missed his workmates.

13) Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr. – $114 million (2002)

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A successful businessman, Whittaker snagged a $113 million Powerball jackpot. After giving a part of the money to charity, tragedy struck Whittaker. Rather than putting him on easy street, his ticket was a one-way trip to hell and within 4 years all his money was gone. He started going to strip clubs and indulged in heavy drinking. He was drugged and robbed twice. Lawsuits flew at him and due to his personal blunders, all his fortune was lost.

14) Michael Carroll – $15 million (2002)

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Michael Carroll, a British garbage man, won Britain’s £9.7 million jackpot. Carroll then became the self-proclaimed King of the Chavs, paying homage to his lifestyle and tastes. Boxing training, sleeping with prostitutes and heavy drinking made him give away £4 million of his winnings to friends and family. Five years later, after indulging in an enormous amount of cocaine, parties, hookers and cars, Michael ended up working in a shortbread factory in Scotland.

15) Willie Hurt – $3.1 million (1989)

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Willie Hurt won $3.1 million in the Michigan Lottery but subsequently, his life turned into a nightmare. By the time he’d received just two of the $156,000 annual instalments on his lottery win, he got divorced, lost custody of his children and spent most of the money on crack cocaine that feasted on his entire fortune. After a spree on booze and drugs at a rooming house, Hurt argued with his girlfriend over the unavailability of more drugs. Later, she was found with a bullet in her head. Hurt was charged with her murder and if convicted, will spend the rest of his life in prison. Lottery officials say a conviction wouldn’t stop the Lotto payments.

16) Ken Proxmire – $1 million (1977)

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Ken Proxmire, a tool grinder from Michigan, won $1 million in the Michigan Lottery. He quit his job and moved to California to start a car business with his brothers. Five years later, his business went under. With $100,000 in debt, he filed for bankruptcy. His wife left him at that time too. After his business failed, tax payments and bankruptcy settlements consumed his annual winnings.

17) Americo Lopes – $38.5 million (2009)

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For most people, sharing a $38.5 million lottery jackpot with five co-workers is a deal they could live with. But it was apparently too much for Americo Lopes, who was found guilty of cheating his colleagues out of their rightful share of the winnings. Americo Lopes worked for a construction company and often pooled money for lottery tickets with his co-workers. When he scored a winning ticket, he quit his job, claiming he needed foot surgery. After coming clean to a co-worker months later, five of Lopes’ ex-colleagues turned around and filed a lawsuit against him. A jury in Union County ordered Lopes to divide the winnings with his colleagues.

18) Mark Gardiner – $15 million (1995)

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Mark Gardiner and his business partner won £22 million in the National Lottery and split it down the middle. Little did he know that it would ruin his life. He suffered a lot of rejection over the years.

19) Jonathan Vargas – $35.3 million (2008)

jonathan-vargas

At the age of 19, Jonathan Vargas won the Powerball jackpot, which totalled a massive $35.3 million. With the money, he and some partners created “Wrestlicious”, featuring all female wrestlers clad in bikinis. The world wasn’t ready for it. The effort lasted just one year on TV and the company is no longer in business. After this, other bad investments and losses followed. He is now broke.

20) Billy Bob Harrell Jr.- $31 million (1997)

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Billie Bob Harrell Jr. was a Home Depot stocker when he won a $31 million in the Texas jackpot. To the former Pentecostal preacher, $1.24 million per year was a gift from heaven and he thought that his prayers were answered. He bought an estate, six houses and a bunch of new cars. After the initial glory diminished, Harrell found himself losing and loaning money at a minimal rate. Like many winners, he had trouble saying “no” to those who asked for funds. A few years later, he ended up divorced, broke and unhappy. Billy committed suicide.

21) Lara and Roger Griffiths – $2.76 million (2005)

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Lara and Roger Griffiths were a perfect couple until they won a $2.76 million lottery jackpot. Their lives dramatically changed after they won. Despite buying their million-dollar dream house, a Porsche and Land Rover and getting a private school education for their children, problems started to affect their relationship. Roger drove away in the Porsche when Lara accused him of being interested in another woman. Their happy 14-year marriage eventually crumbled, a freak fire gutted their house, and every penny of their fortune disappeared. Money turned their life around for the worse.

22) Sharon Tirabassi – $10.5 million (2004)

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Sharon Tirabassi, a single mother, was on welfare when she cashed a check from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. for $10.5 million. Today, after spending almost all her winnings on a big house, fancy cars, designer clothes, lavish parties, exotic trips, handouts to family and loans to friends, she’s back in the working class riding the bus, working part-time and living in a rented house. She had a hard time saying no to those she thought of as being in need. Tirabassi did not hire a financial adviser; she did not even keep a close track of her account balance. Thus, she ended up with only $750,000 left in her account.

23) Barry Shell – $4 million (2009)

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Barry Shell used one of his last dollars to buy a lotto ticket and ended up winning $4 million in the Ontario lottery. But, all that ended after he claimed his prize. The lottery authorities discovered that Shell was wanted for theft; they informed the local police who immediately arrested Shell and took him to jail.

24) Ibi Roncailoli – $5 million (1991)

ibi-roncailoli

Ibi Roncailoli was a Canadian native won $5 million in a Lotto drawing. Ibi and her husband Joseph were already rich, so their $5million win was the cherry on top of the cake. Ibi and Joseph were happily married. Joseph worked as a gynaecologist earning a good salary. Ibi always looked after their finances so her husband did not have much to worry about. After winning the lottery, Ibi became frivolous. She wasted not only the lottery winnings but also all of the family’s finances on gambling without her husband’s knowledge. Ibi was found dead in her house and most people assumed her death was due to her heavy drinking and smoking. It was later substantiated that Joseph had poisoned his wife when he found out about her habits. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2008.

25) Urooj Khan – $1 million (2012)

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Urooj Khan won $1 million in the Illinois lottery and opted for the lump sum payout of $424,500 instead of annual payments. He had planned to use the money to expand his dry cleaning business. Khan died less than a month after winning, the day after his check was mailed. While his death was declared natural at first, a test later revealed that he had been poisoned with cyanide. The police didn’t name any suspect and a subsequent autopsy revealed nothing more. Urooj Khan was a winner who lost it all.

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