15 Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny

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When you dream about winning the lottery, images of financial freedom, luxury, and a worry-free life come to mind. However, for some, this dream can quickly turn into a nightmare. The stories of those who won millions only to lose it all serve as cautionary tales that underscore the importance of financial prudence and planning.

These are the narratives of 15 lottery winners who lost their fortunes and examine the common pitfalls they faced. By understanding their mistakes, you can glean valuable lessons for anyone holding that golden ticket.

William “Bud” Post

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo credit: Unknown author

William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery 1988. Unfortunately, his life took a downward spiral almost immediately. Within a year, he was $1 million in debt. 

His ex-girlfriend successfully sued him for some of his winnings, and his brother hired a hitman to try to inherit his fortune. Post’s lavish spending led him to bankruptcy. Towards the end of his life, he relied on food stamps and a $450/month stipend. Post passed away due to respiratory failure on January 15, 2006, at the age of 66.

Evelyn Adams

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo by jeanmadams

Evelyn Adams defied the odds by winning the New Jersey lottery twice, in 1985 and 1986, for $5.4 million. 

Despite her incredible luck, she gambled away her entire fortune in Atlantic City casinos and ended up struggling.

Suzanne Mullins

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo credit: Unknown author

Suzanne Mullins quickly became indebted after winning $4.2 million in the Virginia lottery in 1993. 

Business Insider mentions that she divided the yearly payments among her husband and daughter, leaving Mullins with around $47,000 yearly. Soon enough, she found herself in debt. Her attorney said she spent $1 million on her son-in-law’s medical bills, who was uninsured.

Gerald Muswagon

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo credit: AP Images

Gerald Muswagon’s $10 million win in Canada’s Super 7 lottery in 1998 seemed like a dream come true. However, in just seven years, he blew through his fortune, primarily on partying. 

Muswagon also invested in a logging business that unfortunately didn’t succeed due to low sales. Eventually, he had to take up a job doing heavy lifting on a friend’s farm to make ends meet. Filled with remorse, Muswagon tragically hanged himself in his parents’ garage in 2005.

Ibi Roncaioli

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo credit: Unknown author

Ibi Roncaioli won $5 million in the Canadian Lotto 649 in 1991. She secretly gave $2 million to a child from a previous relationship. Her husband, upon discovering this, poisoned her with painkillers, leading to her untimely death.

Denise Rossi

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
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Denise Rossi won $1.3 million in the California lottery in 1996. However, during her divorce proceedings, she kept her winnings a secret. When the judge found out, he awarded all her winnings to her husband, Thomas Rossi.

Callie Rogers

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo by Karolina Kaboompics

At just 16 years old, Callie Rogers won £1.8 million ($2.6 million) in 2003. She spent all her money on excessive luxuries and survived on government benefits.

Sharon Tirabassi

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Unknown author

Sharon Tirabassi won $10.5 million in Canada in 2004. Within nearly a decade, she spent all her winnings on houses, cars, vacations, and family handouts. By 2015, she was forced to work part-time to make ends meet.

Jeffrey Dampier

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo credit: allthatsinteresting.com

Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in the Illinois lottery in 1996. Despite his fortune, he spent most of it on houses, fun, and donations to family and friends until he was broke. Tragically, he was murdered by his sister-in-law and her boyfriend.

Billie Bob Harrell Jr.

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo by Erik Mclean

Billie Bob Harrell Jr. won $31 million in the Texas lottery in 1997 but spent it all within two years on houses, cars, and donations. He eventually committed suicide due to the stress of financial mismanagement.

Mickey Carroll

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Image credit: PA Archive

British garbage worker Mickey Carroll won £9.7 million ($13.2 million) in 2002. He spent his fortune on parties, cars, vacations, and handouts, eventually going broke.

David Lee Edwards

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo by smart winners

David Lee Edwards, originally a convicted felon from Ashland, Kentucky, had a stroke of luck when he landed a quarter-share of the $280 million Powerball jackpot in August 2001. 

It stood as one of the most significant lottery victories in history, yet by 2006, all of Mr. Edwards’ winnings had vanished.

Jack Whittaker

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo credit: John Sommers II/Reuters

Jack Whittaker won the $314.9 million Powerball jackpot in 2002, the most significant single-person lottery win. However, several personal challenges left him broke.

Lara and Roger Griffiths

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo credit: SWNS

Lara and Roger Griffiths won $2.76 million in the 2005 UK lottery. However, after a divorce and excessive spending on luxury trips and cars, they lost it all.

Curtis Sharp

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo credit: Unknown author

Curtis Sharp won $5 million in the New York lottery in 1982. His fortune was lost to divorces, casino visits, and reckless spending.

The Double-Edged Sword of Lottery Winnings

Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny
Photo by smart winners

Winning the lottery can be a double-edged sword. While it offers the promise of financial freedom and a luxurious lifestyle, it also comes with significant challenges and risks. The stories of the 15 lottery winners who lost everything are potent reminders of the importance of financial planning, disciplined spending, and personal well-being.

As you dream of that golden ticket, remember these lessons and approach your potential winnings with caution and wisdom. The allure of the lottery is undeniable, but with the right strategies needed for more, you can avoid the pitfalls and make the most of your fortune.

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