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Fraud, bankruptcy, assassination: 10 people told how winning the lottery changed their lives

These 10 people won the lottery. How winning affected the lives of the winners, reports BuzzFeed.

Photo: Shutterstock

According to Investopedia, the odds of winning the Powerball draw are 1 in 292,2 million as of November 2021. It's not that much, given that you're more likely to be struck by lightning.

Can winning really change everything? Maybe, sometimes not for the better. Here are the stories of 10 lottery winners about the changes in their lives.

1. “The first thing I did was hire lawyers in New Mexico, Delaware and Wyoming, and each of them created anonymous LLCs for me in their states.”, said one lottery winner on Reddit, discussing his strategy for handling his winnings.

“I transferred the winnings to an LLC in New Mexico. I then set up a trust with an LLC in Wyoming as the trustee and myself as the beneficiary. Then I changed my official name. I use Delaware LLC for financial transactions, real estate purchases, vehicle registrations, etc. I moved into a modest four-bedroom apartment on the edge of a quiet suburb in northeast Ohio. I hide as efficiently as the law allows,” says user u/2ndChance_1stMistake.

2. One woman's life was quiet and peaceful, and then it was almost ruined because she was silent about her winnings.

“The lottery win was back in August 2014. Mike and I got married in October 2014. It was not a state, but enough to make a difference. After taxes, it came out to about $480,” she wrote.

“Most people would be in seventh heaven, but I panicked. I didn't want our lives turned upside down because now we had extra money. I needed to tell someone else about this. But I didn't. Not a single soul. Not to my husband, not to my parents, not to my brothers, not to my sisters, not to my best friends, etc. Only to the state and federal governments,” the woman said.

“I opened a new bank account with a national credit union. I started working with a financial advisor who helped me invest in local businesses and real estate. That's all. Income just goes up,” she continued.

“Fast forward one day. I'm doing the dishes, getting dinner ready, and then the phone rings. I don't pick up the phone, but I think I'll call them later. Then I get a message. It's OK. I'll get to that in a minute, but my husband walked into the kitchen and looked at my phone to let me know who had texted me. It was Keith, my financial advisor. He called me to let me know that my account had just hit $1 million after one of the energy companies I invested in had recently taken off,” the woman says. “My husband was stunned. He has no idea what to even say, looks at me, and then says: “Do we have a million dollars?”

3. Another woman was not so lucky with her husband's reaction. Denise Rossi hit the $1,3 million jackpot in 1996 on the California State Lottery. She kept the secret even when she divorced her 25-year-old husband 11 days after the victory. She decided not to list the winnings in her asset during the divorce.

It was only a matter of time before she was caught. Her punishment for lying about her assets was to pay every cent of her winnings to her ex.

4. The waitress who got a lottery ticket as a tip couldn't believe it when she won $10 million. Years of heartache began.

When all was said and done, Tonda Dickerson agreed to receive $375 over 000 years. Her fellow waiter was not happy for her and sued her, claiming that she agreed to share this winnings with her team if she won.

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When she ended her legal battle, the man who gave her the ticket reappeared and said that she had promised him a truck if she won.

Days after Tonda dismissed the lawsuit, her ex-husband Stacey Martin kidnapped her and took her to an isolated boat dock in Alabama. A fight ensued, then she pulled out his gun and shot him in the chest.

5. Neil Wanless was one of the poorest ranchers in one of South Dakota's poorest neighborhoods when he won a $2009 million Powerball prize in 232,1.

“I would like to thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity and blessing me with his great wealth. I won't waste it,” he said graciously, accepting his check. And he didn't. He used this winnings to pay off his existing debts and buy a nearly 20-hectare ranch.

Over the years, he built two luxurious houses on the land for himself and his mother, as well as small houses for ranchers and guests.

He helped not only other members of his family, but also his community. He and his wife recently moved to her family's ranch in British Columbia, paying over $40 million for the ranch.

6. John and Linda Kuti were among New York office workers who won the $319 million Mega Millions jackpot. Their share of the jackpot, when all was said and done, was $28,7 million.

Nine years after the big win, the couple decided to honor their parents with a massive $250 donation to a new water park in their hometown.

In July 2013, the splash pool was officially dedicated to Edmund Ostrowski and the late Gertrude Ostrowski, as well as Joseph and Mercedes Koutey.

7. Scavenger Michael Carroll won $12 million off a $1 ticket when he was 19 in 2002. He invested over $1 million in the house, which he later sold for less than $300.

He also began living a lifestyle of parties, prostitutes and drugs that cost him his wife, house and all his winnings. He filed for bankruptcy in 2013. He reconciled with his wife in 2021 and married a second time.

8. Another lottery winner became estranged from his entire family after a difficult childhood and military service when he won a decent amount and decided not to tell them.

“I won the kind of money that could pay for a three-bedroom, two-bath house in an area where house prices were below the national average. So I did, I bought a house. I never told my family about winning. This house was bought when I was 25, that is 11 years ago. Since then, I got married, I had a child, and I have a good and pleasant life in every way,” he said.

“About a year ago, my older sister had to be near where I lived for work and she wanted to visit me to meet my daughter and catch up. Against common sense, I agreed. At some point during dinner on the 2nd night, she asked about what my mortgage should be like, since she paid $900 in rent for something much smaller and without a yard. My wife chuckled, not suspecting that my family does not know my financial luck, the man said. “I can't lie, improvise, or do anything without too much planning. I sat there, stunned, trying to think of something to say before my wife said, "Well, he used his winnings to just buy a house," thus setting off a chain reaction of questions, culminating in my sister finding out that I got six figures for no reason. She was furious and went to the hotel."

“About two hours later, phone calls began from all of my family members accusing me of cutting them off so I wouldn’t have to share the winnings. The sister I got along with even got mad at me for keeping it a secret. My phone, email, and wife's phone started to break for the next week, while the family tried to get money from me and did not understand that I had already spent everything, ”he said.

9. William "Bud" Post III's life came crashing down after he won $16,2 million in the Pennsylvania Lottery in February 1988.

He pawned the ring to buy 40 tickets, with another 20 added by his landlady/girlfriend Ann Karpik. A year after the victory, Karpik filed a lawsuit and stated that she demanded to share the money. In 1992, she won her lawsuit and received 1/3 of the jackpot, which was $5,3 million.

Years later, there was an assassination attempt on Post when one of his brothers hired a hitman to kill Post and his wife in hopes of getting the rest of the winnings, which were paid annually.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

This is despite Post trying to build a business and lending money to family members to try and keep them all afloat. Later legal troubles would eventually bankrupt him.

10. Les Robins was a high school substitute teacher in Wisconsin when he won $1993 million in the lottery in 111.

He knew right away that he wanted to use his winnings to make his community a better place.

Robins built Camp Winnegator, a 90-hectare day camp for kids that includes a mini-golf course, swimming pool, stables and more. He wanted the kids to go out and do what he loved as a teenager for only $250 a week. This project was created not for earning, but for memories.

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