What would you do if you won the lottery? Would you buy a house, a car, maybe a yacht? Would you pay off debt, maybe even your student loans? How about giving money to charity and friends? It’s fun to think about what we would do if we were lottery winners. However, there are some people who have actually won and though it may seem like their dreams came true, their end was more like a nightmare. Many lottery winners got involved with drugs, scandals, gambling, and many other unwise financial decisions. Some lottery winners even ended up taking their own lives. That’s pretty hard to believe? After all, how could owning so much money ever be considered a nightmare? In today’s list we explore 25 unfortunate lottery winners you can’t help but feel sorry for.
If you are ever a lottery winner, be sure not to fall into the same trap these poor unfortunate people did.
Suzanne Mullins won $4.2 million in the Virginia lottery in 1993 but ended up in deep debt to a company that lent her money by using her winnings as collateral. She borrowed $197,746.15, which she agreed to pay back with her yearly checks from the Virginia lottery through 2006. When the rules changed, allowing her to collect her winnings in a lump sum, she cashed out the remaining amount, but stopped making payments on the loan.
The Unknown unfortunate soul
A man from California lost out on $1 million after he missed the deadline for claiming his lottery winnings. The man, whose name has not been revealed, lost his ticket and didn’t even know he had won until it was too late.
Rhoda and Alex Toth
Rhoda and Alex Toth won the Florida lottery’s $13 million jackpot in 1990, but by 2005 they had fallen into poverty and were in trouble with the law. How does this even happen? According to the Tampa Bay Times, the couple declared bankruptcy and was accused of tax evasion by the IRS. Alex died just before the case went to trial and Rhoda eventually served two years in prison.
When construction worker Americo Lopes won the New Jersey lottery with pooled money from fellow workers (and after agreeing to split the winnings if it were to ever happen), Americo decided to lie to his friends about the winnings, and instead keep it for himself. After his co-workers discovered his treachery, they sued him and won.
Tonda Lynn Dickerson
Similar to Americo Lopes, Tonda Lynn Dickerson won $10 million when a frequent customer gave her a winning lottery ticket. Good for her right? Except that Ms. Dickerson had previously agreed to share her winnings with her co-workers (sound familiar). Needless to say upon winning, she turned her back on her promises (which she was later sued for but somehow won) and in a strange twist of fate was forced to pay $1,119,347.90 in taxes (on top of taxes already taken from her winnings).