William “Bud” Post’s life story reads like a tragic Disney story that never gets happy.
He was orphaned at a young age, and spent most of his life as a drifter until he won the Pennsylvania Lottery for $16.2 million in 1988.
It only took a few months for him to lose it all, having spent it on houses, cars, boats, a twin-engine airplane (even though he didn’t have a pilot’s license), and “shady business deals.” (At least it sounds like he enjoyed it.)
His brother hired a hit man to try to kill him and his sixth wife, a landlady made him give her a third of his winnings, and he was sent to jail at one point for “firing a gun over the head of a bill collector.”
He died without a nickel to his name in 2006 of respiratory failure. He had told friends, before he died, “I was much happier when I was broke.”
When Jeffrey Dampier won the lotto in 1996, he pledged to use the money to bring his family closer together, relocating his parents and family to his newly purchased Florida estate.
He then invested his earnings into a gourmet popcorn store in Tampa, and employed some of his family members to work there.
Tragedy struck in 2005, when Jeffrey was called by his his sister-in-law Victoria Jackson to come over to her house and help with car trouble.
When he arrived to the home, Jeffrey was confronted by Victoria and her boyfriend Nathaniel, who used a pistol to force him back into the car, ultimately kidnapping him.
They tied his hands with his shoelaces, and drove him to a dead-end street where Nathaniel gave Victoria the gun and told her to shoot Dampier, or he would.
After Victoria pulled the trigger and killed Dampier, the couple ran away on foot. They were soon caught, seeing as Dampier was last heard from telling his family he was headed to see Victoria.
The couple was arrested three days later and both convicted of murder. Victoria Jackson received three life sentences in September 2006, and Nathaniel Jackson received life in 2007
Suzanne Mullins won the lottery back in 1993 and opted for yearly payouts instead of a lump sum. She planned on splitting the 20 annual payments of $47,800 with her husband and daughter.
However, within five years, she found herself in debt and used her future payouts as collateral for a $200,000 loan.
Mullins later switched to a lump sum payout but never paid back her debts. The loan company filed suit and won judgment for a $154k settlement but they haven’t collected anything because Mullins reportedly has no assets.
She blamed the debt on the lengthy illness of her uninsured son-in-law, who needed $1 million for medical bills.
You know the saying “money doesn’t buy happiness?” Sure, most of us scoff at the concept. But if ever there were a story that proves that there may be something to the old saying, this just may be it. Billie Bob Harrell Jr. was like most of us, and when he won $31 million in the Texas Lotto in 1997, it seemed like the world was his oyster.
Prior to winning big, Harrell and his family were mostly broke as he moved between low-paying jobs. And when that first payout hit, well, he did what many of us would do – he quit his job at Home Depot, took his family on a vacation to Hawaii, donated tens of thousands of dollars, bought houses and cars for his loved ones and even donated almost 500 turkeys to the poor. Nothing unusual so far, right?
Well, with large sums of money comes greed, of course, and in this case it was the greed of others that started to get to him. Harrell had to change his phone number repeatedly because strangers were calling him left and right, asking for donations. On top of it all, he made a bad deal with a company that gives lottery winners a lump sum payment in exchange for their yearly winnings – never a good thing to do, it seems – losing out on a ton of money.
But if that weren’t bad enough, his personal life started to fall apart. His wife, Barbara Jean, left him less than a year after he won. He told his financial advisor that “Winning the lottery was the worst thing that ever happened to me.” Sounds hard to believe, doesn’t it? Well, apparently it was true. Harrell was found dead inside his home about 20 months after the win. Cause of death? A self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Want to know how to fritter away a multi-million lottery fortune? Ask Michael Carroll: The unemployed 26-year-old Brit has blown a £9.7 million jackpot he won in 2002 (approximately $15 million at the time) and is currently hoping to get his old job back as a garbageman.
At first, Carroll lavished gifts on friends and family, but soon started spending on less admirable causes: Cocaine, parties, cars, and, at one point, up to four prostitutes a day.
Only a year after his winning, he was smoking £2,000 of crack cocaine every day and hosting drug and drink fuelled parties at his £325,000 home, the notorious Grange in Downham, Norfolk.
After his wife left him, Carroll turned to prostitutes. He boasted about sleeping with four a day – a total of 2,000 at a cost of £100,000 over eight years – in order to sate his sexual appetite.
He also lost £1million on the dogs and horses and even injected £1million into his favourite football team, Rangers. He was down to his last £500,000 cash in 2008 and last year sold his £400,000 fleet of luxury cars and spent the proceeds.
Now he is collecting a £42 a week in jobseeker’s allowance. According to him it’s easier to live off £42 dole than a million.”
Many 16 year old girls are too busy with school, boys and arguing with parents to even think of playing the lottery.
But Callie Rogers knew she would win one day, and her luck paid off when she won £1.9 million (3 million U.S) in her UK hometown.
Callie naively began spending her money on everything she could think of; clothes, parties, vacations, breast implants…oh and the good old cocaine addiction.
Nearly six years later, Callie was broke and in debt- she attempted to take her own life twice. After recovering from her traumatic experience, she took a job as a made to support herself and her two children.
My life is a shambles and hopefully now it has all gone I can find some happiness. It’s brought me nothing but unhappiness. It’s ruined my life. I’ve just wanted to make people happy by spending money on them. But it hasn’t made me happy. It just made me anxious that people are only after me for my money.
When Jack Whittaker won the Powerball in 2002, he went down as the man who one the largest jackpot by a single ticket–a total of $315 million! The 55 year old West Virginia native owned Diversified Enterprises Construction, and was already worth a reported $17 million before his big win.
After winning, the devout religious man gave 10 % of his winnings to Christian charities, and used 14 million to create the Jack Whittaker foundation-not sure why he used his own name.
The woman who was working the counter when he purchased the ticket was showered with gifts as well; he bought her a $123,000 house, a new Dodge Ram Truck, and gave her $50,000 cash.
Soon after his record-breaking when, trouble began to surround Jack in all ways. Less than a year after winning, a couple of thieves broke into Jack’s car while it was parked at a strip club, and got away with $545,000 in cash which Whittaker carried around in a suitcase.
Why have all that cash in one place? We’re still asking the same question.
Soon after, two managers of the exact same strip club he was first robbed, were arrested for conspiring to slip drugs into Jack’s drink and then rob him.
It seems as if Jack would have learned his lesson of how much cash to carry around, but he didn’t. In January of 2004, Jack’s car was once again robbed, this time the thieves managed to take another $200 thousand, which was eventually recovered by the police.
Months later 18 year old Jessie Tribble, who was the boyfriend of Jack’s granddaughter Brandi, was found dead in Whittaker’s West Virginia home.
The coroner’s determined that Jessie had died of an overdose on a combination of oxycodone, methadone, meperidine, and cocaine.
Only three months later, his own granddaughter Brandi had suffered the same fate as she was found dead at the house of a male friend after being reported missing for a week.
Her body was found wrapped in a plastic tarpaulin and dumped behind an abandoned van, yet no one was charged with murder-she also suffered an overdose.
Jack was completely devastated after the death of Brandi, whom he had practically raised since birth. “I wish I’d torn that ticket up,” he told reporters at the time.
Sadly the hard and devastating times were far from over for Jack, as he was sued by Caesars Atlantic City casino for bouncing $1.5 million in checks to cover his gambling losses.
As he was battling the lawsuit with his very own counter suit, his own daughter Ginger (mother of Brandi) was found dead in Daniels, West Virginia.
While foul play was not involved, the actual cause of death is still a mystery. Today, it is said that Jack still lives in West Virginia, but is completely broke. $315 million down the drain.
Sometimes, even good intentions can get wildly out of hand — as was the case for Janite Lee, the 52-year-old woman, who landed an $18 million payout from the Missouri Lottery back in 1993.
The South Korean immigrant immediately began to contribute chunks of her wealth to various educational programs, community services and political organizations.
Besides the usual million-dollar house and cars, Lee reportedly donated more than $1 million to Washington University, where her namesake reading room commemorates the occasion.
She reportedly donated $277,000 to Democratic political candidates, earning herself meals with Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and even the President of South Korea.
She didn’t stop there. $30,000 went to the family of a South Korean church pastor who passed away. The St. Louis Korean American Association received a house from her.
Another Korean adoption-related association also benefited. Lee’s philanthropy was expensive. But combined with her gambling habit—she lost $347,000 in a single year—bank loans, and credit card debt, it harkened disaster.
Lee later sold the rights to her annual lottery lump sum payment plan, and less than a decade later, she was in bankruptcy court and in 2001 she filed for Chapter 7 with less than $800 dollars to her name- and more than $2.5 million in debt!
Vivian Nicholson famously claimed she would “spend, spend, spend” after winning £152,300 (worth about £3 million in today’s money) when playing the Castleford football pools in 1961.
And Viv Nicholson was as good as her word, blowing her massive jackpot in less than five years.
Since then she has been widowed, married five times, suffered from a stroke and has been treated for alcoholism, deported from Malta, became a Jehovah’s Witnesses, tried to commit suicide and spent time in a mental institution.
She spent her winnings on Harrods dresses, luxury cars and holidays and was the subject of the West End production of her life, aptly called “Spend, Spend, Spend”, with Barbara Dickenson playing her role. She is now living on a week pension of £87.
After winning $40 million from the Florida Lottery in 2006, Abraham Shakespeare was more than generous with his money. He was giving it away at a quick rate to nearly anyone who asked. But his generosity didn’t make him immune to the lottery curse.
His troubles started almost immediately. His co-worker said that Shakespeare had stolen the tickets and the jackpot from him, and took him to court. Shakespeare won the suit, but his troubles didn’t end.
So many people were asking Abraham Shakespeare for money that he said, “”I’d have been better off broke,” and “I thought all these people were my friends, but then I realized all they want is just money.”
Then he met Dee Dee Moore, who said she wanted to write about his experiences. She also said she’d help manage his money, though she immediately started spending it on herself (buying a Hummer and a Corvette). She even took possession of his home.
But apparently, that wasn’t enough for her. Moore killed Abhraham Shakespeare and buried his body under concrete slabs at her boyfriend’s house.
She took extreme lengths to try to make it seem as if Abhraham Shakespeare were still alive, sending fake texts and attempting to bribe his family to say they had seen him.
Moore was convicted of first-degree murder.