25/08/2017 11:28 BST | Updated 25/08/2017 15:58 BST

8 Times Winning The Lottery Ruined Someone's Life

Unhappy endings.

We all dream of winning the lottery - no more debt, endless holidays and a ridiculously large and unwarranted collection of whatever takes your fancy.

Mother-of-two Mavis Wanczyk, 53, this week joined the ranks of lucky punters with the biggest win in North American history - a staggering $758.7m (£590m).

She said at a press conference: “The first thing I want to do is just sit back and relax.”

That’s all well and good but it helps to have a plan otherwise you could end up like one of these unfortunate “winners”...

1 The Man Who Blew It All On Cocaine And Prostitutes

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Britain’s most notorious Lottery winner was without doubt Michael Carroll who won £9.7 million in 2002. He made no attempt to hide the fact he spent his winnings on drugs, parties and prostitutes - and a destruction derby race track in his back yard. Ten years later and he was broke and working in a cookie factory in Scotland.

2 The Sneaky Winner Who Lost In The End

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Now here is a story of karmic justice if ever there was one. In 1996 Denise Rossi won $1.3m on the California Lottery. Instead of informing her husband of 25 years, Thomas, she applied for divorce instead. Denise then kept her winnings secret during the entire court proceedings. Three years later though the truth came out and a court ruled she had violated state asset disclosure law. Her punishment? She was ordered to pay every single penny of her winnings to her ex-husband.

3 The Shattered Rock’n’Roll Dream

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Roger and Lara Griffiths won £1.8m on the UK National Lottery in 2005, allowing them both to pursue their hobbies. She splurged on designer handbags and he recorded an album with the band he played with in university. Oh, and they also bought a massive house. Then began a catalogue of misfortune as they split up over affair allegations, their house burnt down and then Roger - who was in charge of the money - admitted that all the money was gone. In 2013 Roger had £7 left in the bank and was relying on handouts from his parents.

4 The Man Whose Brother Tried To Kill Him

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William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 - which is about when everything started to go wrong. First of all a former girlfriend sued him for a share of the winnings and then his brother hired a hit man to kill him. He didn’t help matters when he fired a shotgun at a man who was trying to collect a debt from him related to his rapidly deteriorating home. Post died, broke, in 2006.

5 The Two-Time Winner Who Blew It All

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While most of us dream of winning the lottery once, Evelyn Adams of New Jersey hot the jackpot in 1985 and 1986 bagging a total of $5.4 million. Fast forward 20 years though and she was living in a trailer completely broke.

6 The Tragedy Of The Winner Who Couldn’t Say No


Abraham Shakespeare won a $17 million lump-sum in 2006 at the age of 40. He was deluged by people asking for financial help and couldn’t say no to people, even allowing homeless people to stay in his new house. One of those who made an extra-special effort to befriend Shakespeare was Dorice Donegan “Dee-Dee” Moore (right in picture). Soon after Shakespeare disappeared. His body was found under a slab behind a home owned by Moore, shot two times. Moore was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

7 The ‘Unluckiest’ Lottery Winner


Jack Whittaker won a massive $US315 million in 2002 but has since said he wished he had torn up his winning ticket. He was the victim of two thefts robbing him of $745,000, was the victim of an attempted plot to drug and rob him and then tragically, his grand-daughter and her boyfriend both died of drug overdoses in his house.

8 The Man Who Just Couldn’t Handle It

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Billie Bob Harrell, Jr. won $31 million on the Texas lotto and, at first, thought his problems were over. He quit his job and gave much of his fortune to help those in need. Eventually he became more and more hassled by people demanding money from him, having to change his phone number numerous times. The pressure of this combined with separating from his wife were too much for him and he was found dead by his son with a self-inflicted head wound just two years after his win.