Winning the lottery jackpot might just be the dream that every one of us has in common. Most of us already have a bucket list of what we would do and what we would spend our winnings on, should we win the millions promised by our lottery tickets. Yet, almost everyone who buys a ticket knows, the hope of winning is much larger in the head than the actual probabilities of winning are. Still, the hope that each lottery ticket represents is enough to get us dreaming.
So, everyone knows what they would do if they ever won the lottery, right? You’d be surprised at just how many people have got it all wrong, despite having it all planned out in their heads. Yes, the usual spending of that large mansion, the fast car and the haute couture wardrobe are always there, but just because someone has won some money, does not actually mean that it is an inexhaustible supply!
The following ten people really went all wrong with it and hence, feature in our list of ten stupid things that people have done after winning their lotteries. Whether it was greed or the mistaken notion that their winnings would never deplete, or sheer absent-mindedness, or the mistaken sense of ‘I can get whatever I want now’; but these ten have been lucky enough to win their millions and stupid enough to lose them all on their own accord!
10) Losing It Out To Absent-Mindedness
We have heard about all the stories out there, where lottery winners have misplaced their winning tickets only to have to go on a massive treasure hunt to retrieve them. Most of them claim to have rifled through their trash, retraced their steps and even went so far as to turn their houses upside down in search for them. For a lot of them, the hard search has paid off, with them finally staking claim over their monies, but there are a few unlucky ones out there who have been living with the thought that they may have lost their millions because of their absent-mindedness! Ian Galtress, an engineer from Merseyside, faced the very same emotions when he realized that he had lost his winning, one million pounds lottery ticket! How did he know for sure? Well, because he had purchased another ticket for his girlfriend and it was just one digit away from his, which of course, turned out to be the winning one, when he had lost it! Similar is the case of Wattford couple, Mr. & Mrs, Tott, who lost out on millions because an investigation that held them to be the real winners took longer than the 30-day deadline that had the company under obligation to pay out!
9) Losing It Out Over Misplaced Trust
Anyone in their right minds would know that since lottery tickets do not come with the names of the people purchasing them, handing them over to someone else, however trustworthy they may be, is a little crazy. Yet, when one actually wins a million dollar lottery, how indeed can one be in the right frame of their minds? California’s Etta May Urquhart has the same story to tell. After playing the lottery for over 18 years, when Etta actually won a jackpot, she was hit by a fit of nerves. As she couldn’t stop shaking when she went to claim her prize, she asked her son, Ronnie to sign the ticket and claim the jackpot on her behalf. Greed however can overpower even the closest of relations and to Etta’s disbelief, Ronnie claimed the jackpot as his own and went on a spending spree with the money he had claimed. Etta is fighting out a court battle for fraud and abuse against her son. Then, there’s the similar story of Jose Antonio Cua-Toc, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala. When he won the lottery in Georgia, he knew he couldn’t legally claim his prize and sent his employer, Erick Cervantes to claim it for him. Of course, one can guess that Cervantes claimed the winnings as his own and the two fought it out in court, where Jose Antonio won back his money minus taxes and attorney fees!
8) Losing It Out To Haute Couture
Of course everyone that wins a lottery jackpot wants to spend and spend and spend, and when Britain’s Vivian Nicholson won the lottery in 1961, her very public exclamations that she was going spend it all, seemed very apt! But of course, no one thought that the lady would literally go ahead with her plans, to such an extent, that she would run through her millions in just a matter of years. Rather than keeping aside some cash for rainy days or investing at least a part of it on her future, Vivian blew it all on haute couture. Yes, you read it right! The lady filled up her closets with all the latest fashions, only to find that she’d already spent all of her money on fashionable overalls! Vivian was soon jobless, alienated from her friends and a widow (despite five marriages), not to mention that she filed for bankruptcy in 1965!
7) Losing It Out To Greed
Greed is always the precursor for a case of breach of ethics and that is what happened with Americo Lopes. Construction company worker, Americo was delighted when he won the lottery in 2010. He immediately quit his job on the pretext that he required foot surgery. While none of this appeared suspicious for a person who had just won millions, it was only months later, when his co-workers filed a lawsuit against him that things became clearer. It seems that all the workers in the company usually pooled their monies in order to buy lottery tickets, and it was one such cash pool that yielded the winning ticket. Americo’s statement about the ticket being really his and hence, was not obligated to share his winnings, did not hold water with the jury and he lost his case. He has had to divide the winnings minus the taxes and share the money with his former colleagues.
6) Losing It Out To Bad Allocation
Just an extension of the vice of greed that was taken up in the last point, here’s a case of direct stupidity that resulted from it. Former Waffle House waitress, Tonda Lynn thought she could easily get away with keeping her millions from being shared with two of her waitress colleagues, when the three of them had verbally agreed to share the winnings if any of them ever won from tickets that they got as gifts from the joint’s patrons. Since verbal agreements related to gambling do not hold up in court, she did win the case that her colleagues filed against her. Yet, in her fear that she might lose the case, she did something really stupid. She placed her winnings in a corporation and made her family 51 percent of the stakeholders. According to the US Tax Court, Tonda thus became eligible for a gift tax of $1,119,347.90 for her $10 million winnings. No kidding!
5) Losing It Out To Being Too Kind
Philanthropy is usually a virtue, but not in this case! When the 52 year old wig-shop owner from St. Louis, Janite Lee won 18 million dollars in 1993, she initially spent it all on the usual stuff. Later though, she went on a philanthropic binge that went unchecked, still she had lost everything and had to file for bankruptcy. The South Korean immigrant took her donations to educational programs, community services and political organizations a tad bit too far. Her expensive philanthropy, coupled with her habit of gambling, made sure that she eroded her wealth in a matter of years. After all, it was hardly inexhaustible, though it was a whopping 18 million!
4) Losing It Out To Lack Of Prompt Action
You have to be one of three things, if you have to do something as stupid as 1 million jackpot winner, Amanda Clayton. You either have to be too greedy to give up on welfare coupons, even though you’re rich now, too dunce to notice the welfare coupons that you still continue to get, despite not needing them, or too lazy to know that you have to stop them. Amanda Clayton was arrested for welfare fraud when it came to everyone’s notice that she’d still been collecting her welfare checks, even when she had a million dollars in her bank account. Five years in jail did not kill her though, a drug overdose did!
3) Losing It Out To Willful Non Disclosure
When Denise Rossi won the California lotto for the tune of $1.3 million dollars, she did not wish to share it with her then husband, Thomas. She left her husband without a word of her winning and despite him thinking that something was fishy, Thomas agreed for a divorce. As fate would have it, Thomas came about the truth and filed a lawsuit against ex-wife Denise. Now, since we all know that greed never pays, it is no surprise that Thomas won the case and without even purchasing a lotto ticket, the lucky guy got every single cent of his ex wife’s winnings.
2) Losing It Out To Over Indulgence
When Michael Carrol won the 2002 jackpot in England, he quickly came to be known as the ”lotto lout”. He went on a crazy binge of purchasing houses and cars, as expected of most lotto winners, but he took his over-indulgence a tad bit too far when he used the back yards of those very same houses, as open areas to hold demolition derbies that featured the cars he had bought! Let’s take a moment to take stock here. I mean, it is pretty stupid to buy multiple houses, flatten out their yards, buy a few expensive cars and crash test them there for fun! Add to the mix a lot of many other addictions, and we already know that he would end up in jail and end up penniless soon enough. That’s exactly what happened, enough said!
1) (Almost) Losing It Out To The Law
There’s a relatively happy story to end with. It is also not a story about stupid things that were done after winning a lottery, but rather about it being a stupid thing to buy the lottery ticket in the first place. Timothy Elliott had always wanted to win the lottery at any cost and he was caught in a armed robbery once, which he only undertook in order to get money to buy lottery tickets! During his trial for the same, he was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder and hence, the court put him on probation with mandatory mental counseling instead of sending him to jail. The terms of his probation were the usual no drugs, no gambling and no getting into any trouble! Timothy did take this to heart, but he did not stop purchasing his lottery tickets. When he finally lucked out in 2011 and won his million dollars, he was arraigned for breaking the terms of his probation. What did he do you ask? Well, technically buying a lottery ticket is gambling, isn’t it?! Thankfully, the court asked him to make a moderate restitution and let him keep the rest of his winnings!