Photo: AP Images
As America salivates over the $500 million Powerball prize — seriously, you should go buy a ticket right now — we’d like to remind people that winning the lottery will not solve all your problems.In fact, many people’s lives became notably worse after they got super rich, and in no time they managed to lose it all.
A former Waffle House waitress named Tonda Lynn Dickerson got served a big plate of karma when she refused to split her winnings with ex-colleagues and was forced to pay the tax man $1,119,347.90.
How did it happen? Dickerson placed her winnings in a corporation and granted her family 51 per cent of the stock--qualifying her for the tax.
She quickly found herself in debt, using future payouts as collateral for a $200,000 loan.
Mullins later switched to a lump sum payout, but never paid back the debt. The loan company filed suit and won a $154,000,000 settlement that was all but worthless--Mullins had no assets.
Construction worker Americo Lopes won the New Jersey lottery, quit his job and then lied about it, claiming he needed foot surgery.
After coming clean to an ex-colleague, he and a few others ganged up on Lopes for not splitting the winnings as promised.
Sadly, the court ordered Lopes to split the prize.
Ontario resident Ibi Roncailoli walked away with $5 million in a 1991 Lotto 649 drawing, but she didn't tell her husband how she decided to spend it.
When Joseph Roncailoli, a gynecologist, found out Ibi gave $2 million of her fortune to a secret child she'd had with another man, he poisoned her with painkillers, the Toronto Star reports.
He was found guilty of manslaughter and reportedly asked Ibi's family to help foot the bill for her funeral.
Against all odds, in the mid-1980s Adams won the lottery twice, once in 1985 and again in 1986.
The New Jersey native won a cool $5.4 million, but AskMen.com reports she gambled it away at Atlantic City.
Today she resides in a trailer park.
Michael Carroll was at his peak when he won Britain's £9.7 million ($15 million) jackpot in 2002, The Week reports.
But a penchant for life in the fast lane--cocaine, parties, hookers and cars--put him back at square one in five years.
Last we heard, the ex-garbageman was hoping to get his old job back.
In 2002, West Virginia building contractor Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr. walked away with $114 million after taxes on a $315 Million multi-state Powerball draw.
That was just about his last stroke of good fortune.
In two separate instances, thieves ran off with $745,000 Whittaker stashed in his car. Later on, he was sued by Caesar's Atlantic City for allegedly bouncing $1.5 million in checks.
Within four years, his fortune was gone.
A Pentecostal preacher working as a stockboy at Home Depot got his prayers answered when he hit the $31 million jackpot in 1997, Business Pundit reports.
At first, life was good with Billy Bob buying a ranch, six other homes and some new cars.
But like many others who win the lottery, he just couldn't say 'NO!' when people asked for a handout.
Later in life he divorced and eventually committed suicide.
In 1989, Willie won a $3.1 million jackpot in the Michigan Lottery.
Fast-forward to two years later and Hurt got divorced, lost custody of his children, was charged with attempted murder, and picked up one helluva crack-cocaine addiction.
The habit was so bad, it sucked away his entire fortune.
When Denise Rossi won $1.3 million in the California lotto, she left her husband without a word, reports People's Pam Lambert.
Thomas knew something was up, but agreed to divorce her anyway.
Two years later, he intercepted a letter at his new L.A. pad revealing the truth.
He sued Denise for not disclosing her winnings in the divorce, and the judge awarded Thomas every cent.
After winning an $18 million lottery jackpot in 1993, Janite Lee's earnings were gone within a decade.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports Lee, a wigmaker from South Korea, blew her winnings on, of all things, charity.
A reading room was named after her at Washington University's law school, and she was a major donor for the Democratic Party.
But her giving hand, coupled with a little gambling and a lot of credit card debt, allegedly did her in. She filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
Welsh-born Luke Pittard won a £1.3 million jackpot ($1.9 million) in 2006, but spent it all on a trip to the Canary Islands, a wedding and a house.
A year and a half later, Pittard was forced to take a job at McDonald's flipping burgers.
He says he's happy, and his leftover winnings collect interest.
God was listening in 1988 when William 'Bud' Post won Pennsylvania's $16.2 million jackpot, reports the Beaver County Times. But one bad thing started happening after another.
An ex-girlfriend sued him for a share of the winnings and won; his brother hired a hit man hoping to inherit some winnings; and relatives incessantly bugged him for money, MSN reports.
Within a year, Post was $1 million in debt and filing for bankruptcy.
Now he lives on food stamps and a $450/month stipend.
In 1998, Gerald Muswagon won the $10 million Super 7 jackpot in Canada, reports BigLotteryWinners.com.
But he blew it all on drinking and partying in only seven years.
Filled with remorse, Muswagon hanged himself in his parents' garage in 2005.
Alex and Rhoda Toth hit the $13 million jackpot in Florida in 1990. Within 15 years they were destitute.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the couple declared bankruptcy and were eventually accused of tax evasion by the IRS.
Alex passed away before his case went to trial and Rhoda eventually served two years in prison.
Daily Mail UK reports Vivian Nicholson got a taste of the good life when she won a fortune--£152,300--in Britain's football pools in 1961.
Too bad she blew it all filling her closet with haute couture.
Years later, Nicholson is jobless, a newly-minted Jehovah's Witness and a widow. She's also been married five times.
Callie Rogers was just 16 when she won £1.9 in the U.K.'s lottery (about $3 million) in 2003; too young to know how to manage her money or where it would lead her (Via/Gawker).
Rogers hooked up with a loser, had two children, then blew the rest on partying, vacations and gifts for her friends.
Now Rogers works as a cleaning woman and is reportedly facing bankruptcy.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.