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April 11, 2023

What Happened To Lottery Winners?

Clara Williams
Written byClara WilliamsWriter
Researched byAishwarya NairResearcher
Localised byLiam O'SullivanLocaliser

While winning the Mega Millions or Powerball lottery may seem like a dream come true, it's important to remember that it's not always smooth sailing. The common fantasies associated with winning the lottery include purchasing luxury items like boats, expensive dinners, and flashy cars, living an extravagant lifestyle, and buying a home for loved ones. However, more often than not, instant wealth can lead to broken relationships, divorce, financial ruin, and other negative consequences. 

What Happened To Lottery Winners?

Although some lottery winners may struggle to adjust to their newfound wealth, others use their winnings to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. In the following section, we'll explore the stories of people who have won the lottery and both benefited and suffered from their good fortune.

The Fortunate Ones

These lotto success stories will encourage you to purchase a ticket.

The Powerball Jackpot Changes Everything For A Single Mother Of Five

After a drunk driver slew her brother, Cynthia P. Stafford stepped in and raised his five kids independently. She still helped her family by working to support her father.

Funds were scarce in January of 2007. She had a big family to support, but her home was just a thousand square feet. She was often stressed about making ends meet and hoped to win the lottery one day. And not just any lotto; one with an exact $112,000,000 jackpot. This is precisely what she achieved.

While thinking about money in 2004, the figure "$112 million" came into Stafford's brain. She made it her goal to win exactly that sum.

She tried numerous strategies, including keeping a note with the lottery number beneath her pillows. At the same time, she slept, imagining herself collecting a $112 million prize, and concentrating on the feeling of success.

Three years later, through some incredible twist of fate, Stafford won the prize she had always hoped to win.

Cynthia Stafford attributes her success to the law of attraction and prayer, which allowed her to alleviate her family's financial stress and launch a film production firm to pursue her passion.

Stafford only bought tickets once or twice per month, and she randomly chose the numbers. Although she hasn't won the lottery in years, she still regularly buys tickets on the off chance that she will be an extremely lucky lottery winner and win many jackpots.

Winners of the Mega Millions Give Back with a New Water Park

John and Linda Kutey honored their parents by giving back to the neighborhood after their workplace lottery pool scored one of the largest payouts in Mega Millions history. They headed to the Green Island town hall to inquire about volunteer opportunities.

  • The solution was to assist with renovating a nearby park by installing a state-of-the-art spray park in place of an aging wading pool.
  • The spray park was built at no expense to the public and provided a welcome amenity for local youngsters during the hot summer months. 
  • The Kuteys gave a generous donation that included the new machinery, the tools and materials required to set it up.
  • The Kuteys could invest in themselves and their home with their lottery winnings. John Kutey quit his position at New York State Homes and relocated his family to Florida, where they bought a magnificent mansion perfect for displaying Linda's extensive Disney memorabilia collection.

The Kuteys could support themselves and those who surrounded them with their winnings, even though they received "just" $19 million after taxes.

Inspiring Educator Spends Lottery Winning to Bring Joy to Children

Before winning the lotto, Les Robins was a high school educator. He often expressed disappointment that today's youth don't have the opportunity to grow up camping, swimming, participating in sports, and experiencing the outdoors as he did.

Robins chose to utilize his winnings from the $111 million Powerball prize he received to build a camp where he could offer happiness to children.

Using his lottery winnings, he purchased 226 acres and opened what would become Camp Winnegator, which would remain in operation for almost a decade. It was a cheap summer destination for kids, allowing them to ride horses, do handicrafts, swim, and frolic on the lake. The best part was that the kids could put down their smartphones and video game controllers and reconnect with nature and real-world peers.

Powerball Winners Utilize Their Fortune to Combat the Illness That Took Their Grandchild

After being one of the largest lottery winners with a total winning of 181.2 million in the 2008 Powerball lottery, Paul and Sue Rosenau had a clear plan for their fortune. These lucky lottery winners' winning ticket was bought five years before their grandchild Makayla passed away from a rare, untreatable sickness.

Because it affects relatively few people (approximately 1 in 100,000 births), Krabbe Disease is not a high priority for research funding. This neurodegenerative disease affects the protective covering of nerve fibers, and it almost always proves fatal within the initial two years of diagnosis.

For this reason, Paul and Sue Rosenau started the nonprofit organization The Legacy of Angels to raise money for breakthrough studies into treatments and eventual remedies for the disease. They're both on the organization's board of directors because they want to help other people avoid what they went through.

The Not-So-Lucky Ones

Some people believe that winning the lottery brings bad luck and point to numerous historical cases of victors whose fortunes declined after their windfall. Look at these examples of the lottery winner's curse who didn't exactly strike it rich following their big win.

The Griffiths' Windfall Fell To $10

Only about ten years after Lara and Roger Griffiths of the United Kingdom won $2.19 million in a lottery win, the couple's union resulted in a divorce. Roger spent a ton of money on helping his band put out an album so he could live out his megastar fantasies. They gave Lara a taste of the good life by buying her a fleet of luxury automobiles, a mansion, a wardrobe full of branded apparel and accessories, and enrolling their daughter in a premium private school.

They invested a large sum of money into building a salon, and Lara eventually found employment there. By the end, the couple had less than ten dollars to their name.

Kentucky Winner Went From Mansions To Sheds in Five Years

David Lee Edwards, a citizen of Kentucky, had won a lottery for $27 million five years before he was forced to move into a storage shed with his wife because they had no money. The couple spent their riches on the usual luxuries that brought many lucky lottery winners to their financial ruin. They purchased a large number of luxury automobiles, as well as houses and a plane.

  • They were able to blow through $3 million within the first three months.
  • By the time the first year was over, all 12 million dollars had vanished into thin air.
  • In 2006, the pair had descended into a downward spiral of substance abuse. 
  • Barely 12 years after the victory altered the trajectory of his existence, David Lee Edwards passed away all alone, destitute in a hospice care facility at the age of 58.

Instant Millionaire Ends In Tragedy After A Few Years

In 2011, Gerald Muswagon, a Canadian, spent only two dollars on a lottery ticket that would make him an overnight millionaire. He hit the jackpot of $10 million, but he spent it all only a few short years after he got it.

He purchased a home that served as a nightly partying venue for his ever-growing army of lackeys and parasites and hosted the parties there. According to The Globe and Mail, he wasted money on things such as partying, buying vehicles, and giving presents, all while getting himself into various legal messes.

Ultimately, he helped out on a farm as a laborer to provide for his partner and their six small children. Seven years after winning the significant prize, he took his own life by hanging himself in the garage of his parent's home.

Sweet Lady Scammed By No-Gooders

Marva Wilson is one of the few who understand the reality that fraudsters, scam artists, and grifters consider lottery winners as targets. After her great-grandmother received $2 million in the Missouri lottery in 2008, she was promptly targeted by a con artist named Freya Pearson.

Pearson used charm and wit to manipulate her way into Wilson's life and financial accounts. Pearson pretended to assist Wilson in filing a lien, settling her affairs, and forming a nonprofit organization on her behalf. Instead, Pearson took Wilson's earnings and spent them all on herself. In the end, the judge decided to give Pearson a jail term of five years.

Final Thoughts

Many lucky lottery winners can better their lives and the lives of others around them with the money they earn. No one's saying that hitting the lottery automatically makes you a curse's next victim.

But remember that the danger of losing your money is much more important than the lottery winner's curse as an excuse not to buy a ticket. Purchasing lottery tickets is a fun hobby, but it shouldn't be seen as a practical means to earn money or prepare for retirement. You shouldn't gamble if you cannot afford to forfeit the amount you plan to spend on tickets.

About the author
Aishwarya Nair
Aishwarya Nair

Aishwarya Nair, dubbed "Lotto Lorekeeper" at LottoRanker, harnesses her meticulous research skills and cultural depth from Kerala, India, to shed light on global lottery phenomena. Equipped with a keen sense of detail and a penchant for data, she delves deep into the lottery world, unveiling hidden gems and trending patterns.

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