Here Are 21 Lottery Winners Who Blew It All

As one of the largest jackpots in U.S. lottery history climbs to $US550 millionvand potentially beyond, we’re reminded that winning the lottery will not solve all problems.

In fact many people’s lives became notably worse after they got super rich, and they managed to lose it all quite quickly.

The Griffiths bought their dream home then life fell apart.

Before they won a $US2.76 million lottery jackpot, Lara and Robert Griffith hardly ever argued.

They bought a million-dollar house and a Porsche.

But 18 months ago, six years after their win, Robert drove away in the Porsche after Lara confronted him over emails suggesting he was interested in another woman.

Their 14-year marriage was over, a freak fire gutted their house, and every penny of their fortune was gone.

Martyn and Kay Tott won a $US5 million jackpot, but lost the ticket.

Martyn Tott, 33, and his 24-year-old wife of the UK missed out on a $US5 million lottery fortune after losing their ticket.

They were able to convince officials but since there is a 30-day time limit on reporting lost tickets, the jackpot became the the largest unclaimed amount since the lottery began in 1994.

'Thinking you're going to have all that money is really liberating. Having it taken away has the opposite effect,' Kay Tott told The Daily Mail. 'It drains the life from you and puts a terrible strain on your marriage. It was the cruellest torture imaginable.'

Tirabassi is back in the working class after winning $US10 million nine years ago.

In 2004, Sharon Tirabassi, a single mother who had been on welfare, cashed a check from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. for $US10,569,00.10 (Canadian).

She subsequently spent her winnings on a 'big house, fancy cars, designer clothes, lavish parties, exotic trips, handouts to family, loans to friends' and in less than a decade she's back riding the bus, working part-time, and living in a rented house.

Luckily Tirabassi put some of her windfall in trusts for her six children, who can claim the money when they turn 26.

Americo Lopes quit his job, lied about it, then got sued.

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.

Ibi Roncaioli was murdered by her husband after she squandered her winnings.

Ontario resident Ibi Roncailoli walked away with $US5 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 $US2 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.

Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr. was undone by casino lawsuits.

In 2002, West Virginia building contractor Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr. walked away with $US114 million after taxes on a $US315 Million multi-state Powerball draw.

That was just about his last stroke of good fortune.

In two separate instances, thieves ran off with $US745,000 Whittaker stashed in his car. Later on, he was sued by Caesar's Atlantic City for allegedly bouncing $US1.5 million in checks.

Within four years, his fortune was gone.

Luke Pittard wound up flipping burgers at McDonald's.

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.

Rhoda and Alex Toth both landed in court for tax evasion.

Alex and Rhoda Toth hit the $US13 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.

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