Many lottery winners use their windfalls to better the lives of those around them. They give money to churches, diner waitresses, family members and strangers.
However, not all are able to handle the sudden wealth. Some become extremely generous and end up losing their fortunes.
Michael Carroll, 19, won a British jackpot and blew it all in five years. He went through houses, cars and tons of handouts.
After Abraham Shakespeare won the lottery, he bought a million-dollar home and became something of a Santa Claus in his small hometown of Lakeland. He loaned out cash and paid off the mortgages of some friends who were in financial trouble.
But having all that money didn’t change everything. In just one 30-minute stretch, his phone would ring eight times, each time someone asking him for money.
It didn’t take long for Shakespeare to meet Dorice Donegan “Dee Dee” Moore. Introduced by a mutual friend, she agreed to write a book about his life and took on the role of his financial advisor. She convinced him to isolate himself in his large home to avoid people he owed money. He didn’t leave his house for the last two years of his life – and he was found dead in 2009. Moore has been charged with murder.
Pearlie Mae Smith
When Pearlie Mae Smith won the New Jersey Powerball lottery jackpot of $429 million, she opted to take the lump sum payout and spend it on her family. Now, a year after becoming multimillionaires the Smith family foundation helps fight poverty in Trenton.
The foundation provides resources for neighborhood development, education, and youth services. It also offers scholarships and job training for low-income residents. Its members believe in the biblical principle of “sowing and reaping.”
Many winners struggle with their fortunes after winning the lottery. They often find themselves spending their money on luxury items, such as big houses and cars. They may even become targets of swindlers and con artists. In some cases, these people have no one to turn to for help or advice.
Many people believe that winning the lottery is a dream come true. However, not all jackpot winners end up living happily ever after. For some, the sudden wealth can be dangerous. In the case of Gerald Muswagon, he ended up losing all of his $10 million prize after just a few years!
He blew the money on flashy vehicles and a luxurious house that was used for partying every night. He also threw himself into alcohol and drugs. His irresponsible lifestyle caused him to spend his days in jail.
His criminal record dated back to 1981 and included convictions for drunk driving, assault, and robbery. His lawyer and family blame his poor behaviour on a lack of education and inadequate support. Muswagon died penniless after spending his entire winnings.
A lot of people think that winning the lottery will fix all their problems, but this is not always the case. In fact, it can sometimes make things worse. Here are some stories of lottery winners who didn’t live happily ever after.
In 1988, Pennsylvania’s William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million. But bad luck followed him after he won. His ex-girlfriend sued him for a share of his winnings, his brother hired a hit man to inherit part of the money and relatives incessantly bugged him for cash. Within a year, he was $1 million in debt and living on a $450/month stipend. He hanged himself in his parents’ garage in 2005.
Billy Bob Harrell Jr.
In the wrong hands, millions of dollars can quickly turn into tragedy. That’s a lesson learned by Billie Bob Harrell Jr, who won a $31 million Texas lottery jackpot but made a series of terrible decisions that led to his suicide and the destruction of his family fortune.
The Pentecostal preacher who stocked the electrical supply shelves at a Home Depot in Houston had long struggled to support his wife and three children. His prayers finally came true in June 1997, when he scooped a $31 million jackpot, and chose to receive his prize in annual instalments.
At first, his life was great. He reportedly bought a ranch, six homes and cars for his family members, and made sizeable donations to his church. But his spending and lending soon spiraled out of control.