The lottery matters a lot. Your odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are one in 302.5 million. Your odds of winning the Powerball are slightly better, at one in 292.2 million. Yet you can win more than 400 million dollars if you win either jackpot. The hassle may be worth it. But you should familiarize yourself with the people who won the lottery before you buy some numbers. What are some tragic stories about lottery winners? Who are some people who have used their money to improve their lives? What are some stories that occurred outside the United States? Answer these questions and you can figure out what to do if you win the lottery. Here are five classic stories.
1. Jack Whittaker
Jack Whittaker is one of the most infamous lottery winners. He was a businessman in West Virginia, running a successful contracting firm. He was a multimillionaire, yet he enjoyed playing the lottery every now and again.
On Christmas Eve 2002, he went into a supermarket to buy gas and a breakfast sandwich. He also bought a lottery ticket.
He won $314.9 million dollars in the Powerball state lottery. At the time, this was the largest jackpot that a single person won, and Whittaker remains one of the biggest lottery winners of all time. He took a cash option of more than $113 million after taxes.
Whittaker gave millions of dollars to charity. He even bought a house and a car for the manager of the store when he bought the ticket. But he began falling into trouble.
Less than a year after winning the lottery, thieves stole more than half a million dollars from Whittaker’s car. In 2004, Whittaker’s granddaughter died from an apparent drug overdose.
In 2007, Whittaker claimed that he was broke after subsequent robberies. His daughter died two years later, and his house burned down in 2016. Whittaker died in 2020.
2. Abraham Shakespeare
Abraham Shakespeare was a garbage worker living in Florida. On November 15, 2006, he and his friend stopped by a convenience store. His friend offered to get him a soda, but Shakespeare him to buy lottery tickets instead.
Shakespeare won the Florida Lotto for $30 million. He quit his job and moved into a gated community, buying a house for one million dollars.
But his troubles began immediately. His friend who bought the tickets sued him. He claimed that Shakespeare had stolen the tickets from him, but the jury sided with Shakespeare.
Many people approached Shakespeare with requests for money. One of them was Dorice Moore, who launched a business and moved in with him.
On November 9, 2009, Shakespeare’s family filed a missing person report. They hadn’t heard from Shakespeare since April. The police searched Moore’s home and found Shakespeare’s body buried on the property.
Moore was charged with first-degree murder. In 2012, she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
3. Bill Morgan
Bill Morgan was a truck driver in Australia. In 1997, he got into an accident and was sent to the hospital.
He went into a cardiac arrest and was clinically dead for 14 minutes. The doctors managed to save his life, yet he slipped into a coma. His doctors told his family to remove him from life support, but Morgan awoke and showed no signs of injury.
In 1999, Morgan bought a scratch-off lottery ticket. He won a brand-new car.
A television station became interested in Morgan’s story and asked him to re-enact the moment he won. He bought a new ticket and scratched it off in front of the cameras.
That ticket gave Morgan a jackpot of 250,000 Australian dollars. Morgan is alive and well today, living in a house he bought with his lottery earnings.
4. Cynthia P. Stafford
Cynthia P. Stafford had a run of bad luck. Her brother was killed in a drunk-driving accident.
She took in his five children and raised them by herself while helping out her father. By 2007, she was struggling to make ends meet.
But Stafford was focused on winning the lottery. One day in 2004, the number, “$112 million,” popped into her head.
She became convinced that if she could focus on that number, she could win that much money. She wrote the number down on a piece of paper and slept on it every night. She envisioned how she would feel after she won.
In 2007, she won the lottery with that exact amount. She remains active as a businesswoman today, encouraging people to visualize and realize their dreams. You can google “check powerball ticket” to find out what numbers she recommends.
5. Michael Carroll
Michael Carroll offers one of the funniest lottery stories. He worked as a waste collector in Norfolk, England. He was 19 years old when he bought a lottery ticket and won more than 9.7 million pounds.
Carroll spent his money lavishly. He bought several luxury homes and threw parties inside each of them. He paid for sex workers and drug dealers to provide their services to hundreds of guests.
Carroll also started a demolition derby in his backyard. He was eventually arrested for firing steel balls out of his van.
Within five years of winning the lottery, Carroll had spent all of his money. He returned to his job as a waste collector, but he states he has no regrets about his partying days. He has been dubbed, “the King of Chavs,” and he remains a fixture in the tabloids.
Five People Who Won the Lottery
People who won the lottery have met with many different fates. Jack Whittaker lost his money to thieves and endured numerous personal tragedies. Abraham Shakespeare was murdered for his millions.
Yet plenty of people have improved their lives after winning the lottery. Bill Morgan came back from the dead to win the lottery twice.
Cynthia P. Stafford focused on winning $112 million, and she got her wish. Michael Carroll may have blown through his winnings, but at least he had a great time doing it.
There are many stories about lottery winners. Find out more by following our coverage.