Lottery winners who blew it all
Tirabassi subsequently spent her winnings on a “big house, fancy cars, designer clothes, lavish parties, exotic trips,
Before they won a $2.76 million lottery jackpot in 2005, Lara and Roger Griffiths hardly ever argued.
When the luck runs out …
The Powerball lottery, which will be drawn on Saturday evening, has an estimated jack-pot of $900 million. It’s a lot of money, but if you do the math, buying a ticket probably won’t be worth it.
Even if it does pan out, winning the lottery will not solve all of life’s problems.
In fact, many people’s lives became notably worse after they got super rich, and they managed to lose it all quite quickly.
Before they won a $2.76 mill-ion lottery jackpot in 2005, Lara and Roger Griffiths hardly ever argued.
Then they won, and bought a million-dollar house and a Porsche.
But six years after their win, Roger drove away in the Porsche after Lara confronted him over emails suggesting he was interested in another woman.
Their 14-year marriage was over, a freak fire gutted their house, and every penny of their fortune was gone.
William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but was $1 million in debt within a year.
“I wish it never happened,” Post said. “It was totally a night-mare.”
A former girlfriend success-fully sued him for a share of his winnings and his brother was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him in the hopes he’d inherit a share of the winnings.
After sinking money into various family businesses, Post sank into debt and spent time in jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector.
Bud now lives quietly on $450 a month and food stamps.
Martyn Tott, 33, and his 24-year-old wife from the UK missed out on a $5 million lottery fortune after losing their ticket.
They were able to convince officials, but since there is a 30-day time limit on reporting lost tickets, the jackpot became the largest unclaimed amount since the lottery began in 1994.
“Thinking you’re going to have all that money is really liberating. Having it taken a-way has the opposite effect,” Kay Tott told The Daily Mail. “It drains the life from you and puts a terrible strain on your marriage. It was the cruelest torture imaginable.”
In 2004, Sharon Tirabassi, a single mother who had been on welfare, cashed a check from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. for $10,569,00.10 (Canadian).
She subsequently spent her winnings on a “big house, fancy cars, designer clothes, lavish parties, exotic trips, handouts to family, loans to friends” and in less than a decade she’s back “riding the bus, working part-time, and living in a rented house.”
Luckily Tirabassi put some of her windfall in trusts for her six children, who can claim the money when they turn 26.
Against all odds, in the mid-1980s, Adams won the lottery twice, once in 1985 and again in 1986.
The New Jersey native won a cool $5.4 million, but AskMen.com reports she gambled it away at Atlantic Ci ty.
Today she resides in a trailer park.
A former Waffle House waitress named Tonda Lynn Dickerson got served a big plate of karma when she refused to split her winnings with excolleagues and was forced to pay the tax man $1,119,347.90.
How did it happen? Dicker-son placed her winnings in a corporation and granted her family 51 percent of the stock — qualifying her for the tax.
In 1998, Gerald Muswagon won the $10 million Super 7 jackpot in Canada. But he blew it all on drinking and partying in only seven years. Filled with remorse, Muswagon hanged himself in his parents’ garage in 2005.
When Mullins won the US lotto in 1993, she opted for yearly payouts instead of a lump sum, reports MSN.
She quickly found herself in debt, using future payouts as collateral for a $200,000 loan.
Mullins later switched to a lump sum payout, but never paid back the debt. The loan company filed suit and won a $154,000 settlement that was all but worthless — Mullins had no assets.
Construction worker Americo Lopes won the New Jersey lottery, quit his job, and then lied about it, claiming he needed foot surgery, reports the New York Times.
After coming clean to an ex-colleague, he and a few others ganged up on Lopes for not splitting the winnings as promised.
The court ordered Lopes to split the prize.
Ontario resident Ibi Roncailoli walked away with $5 million in a 1991 Lotto 649 drawing, but she didn’t tell her husband how she decided to spend it.
When Joseph Roncailoli, a gynecologist, found out Ibi gave $2 million of her fortune to a secret child she’d had with another man, he poisoned her with painkillers, the Toronto Star reports.
He was found guilty of manslaughter and reportedly asked Ibi’s family to help foot the bill for her funeral.
A Pentecostal preacher working as a stockboy at Home Depot got his prayers answered when he hit the $31 million jackpot in 1997.
At first, life was good with Billy Bob buying a ranch, six other homes, and some new cars. But like many others who win the lottery, he just couldn’t say no when people asked for a handout.
Later in life he divorced and eventually committed suicide.
In 1989, Willie won a $3.1 million jackpot in the Michigan Lottery.
Fast-forward two years later and Hurt got divorced, lost custody of his children, was charged with attempted murder, and picked up a crack-cocaine addiction.
The habit was so bad, it sucked away his entire fortune.
Alex and Rhoda Toth hit the $13 million jackpot in Florida in 1990. Within 15 years they were destitute.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the couple declared bankruptcy and were eventually accused of tax evasion by the IRS.
Alex passed away before his case went to trial and Rhoda eventually served two years in prison.
Callie Rogers was just 16 years old when she won £1.9 million in the U.K.’s lottery (about $3 million) in 2003 — too young to know how to manage her money or where it would lead her, according to Gawker.
Rogers had two children then blew the rest on partying, vacations, and gifts for her friends.
Now Rogers works as a cleaning woman and is reportedly facing bankruptcy.
Barry Shell won $4 million Canadian dollars in the Ontario lottery in 2009 after he used the last of his cash to buy a ticket.
But there was a warrant out for his arrest on charges of theft and possessing stolen property, and police figured out where he was after seeing a photo of him with his prize. He gave his winnings to a relative.
Mandi Woodruff and Michael B. Kelley contributed to this report.