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How the lives of 10 lottery millionaires went disastrously wrong

Written by Hannah Maundrell, Former Editor in Chief

Every week, millions of people buy lottery tickets in the hope that this week, finally, it will be their turn to win big. But is being a lottery millionaire all it is made out to be? Not according to this sorry bunch.

Who wants to be a millionaire? Most people, surely, except billionaires of course. Sadly, winning a truck-load of money on the lottery comes with a heap of baggage.

Daydreams of a millionaire lifestyle seem to have a habit of turning sour: isolation, paranoia, drugs, crime, poverty and prison await those who fail to adjust, as this top ten of ‘Lottery Losers’ shows:

Jack Whittaker

Won a record $314.9 m Powerball jackpot in 2002.

Life since then has been a long list of arrests, lawsuits, broken relationships and even death.

In 2007, his then wife, Jewell admitted she wished she had ‘torn up the ticket’.

William “Bud” Post

Won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988.

He later described the experience as a ‘nightmare’ and wishes it had never happened – who can blame him after he was sued by a former girlfriend eager to get her hands on the cash, and his brother hired a hitman in the hope of inheriting the winnings.

He invested in ill-fated family businesses and within a year was $1 million in debt. Today he gets by on social security payments.

Luke Pittard from Wales

Won a ‘measly’ £1.3 m on the National Lottery.

After the novelty had worn off and the obligatory lavish holiday, wedding and new home were done and dusted, he got bored and returned to work at McDonald’s.

An as-yet-unnamed Sicilian

Won £79 m on the Italian lottery in 2008

Before he or she could even collect the winnings, consumer groups were demanding that the windfall be seized by the government. The winner has since gone into hiding, fearing the Mafia will come calling.

Janite Lee

Won $18 million in 1993

Her generosity in giving money to a variety of political, educational and community causes was commendable – but just eight years later she filed for bankruptcy.

Mark Gardiner from London

Won £11 m in 1995

Thirteen miserable years later, he has not lost his money, but he has lost all his friends – even the ones he treated to new £100,000 homes – and lost touch with his family.

Michael Carroll

Won a £9.7 m National Lottery jackpot in 2002

Since then, he has appeared in court more than 30 times and been jailed for drug related offences. In 2008, he admitted that ‘just’ £500,000 of his windfall remained.

Willie Hurt

Won $3.1 million in 1989

Two years later the money was gone, and he was on a murder charge. Hurt spent his fortune on a divorce and crack cocaine.

Charles Riddle

Won $1 million in 1975

The original lottery car crash, he quickly got divorced, faced several lawsuits and was eventually indicted for selling cocaine.

Ken Proxmire

Won $1 million in the Michigan lottery

He moved to California, and invested in a car business with his brothers. Five years later, he was bankrupt and back working as a machinist.

Every week, millions of people buy lottery tickets in the hope that this week, finally, it will be their turn to win big. But is being a lottery millionaire all it is made out to be? Not according to this sorry bunch…

Germany: Lottery winner fails to collect €11 million prize

It is thought to be Germany’s biggest ever unclaimed prize. But after a three-year search for the winner, a multi-million euro jackpot has been poured back into the draw.

Lottery prizes worth millions in cash seldom go unclaimed

Many of us may dream what we’d do if we won the lottery — whether it be quitting our day job or sailing off into the sunset in a luxury yacht.

But for one German punter, the chance of fulfilling those fantasies expired at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve after they failed to present a winning lottery ticket worth €11.3 million ($13.8 million) in time.

“Even after a long search, we still sincerely wish we could have been able to pay out the lucky fellow,” Georg Wacker, director of State Toto-Lotto, told the AFP news agency on Monday.

The unknown winner had three and a half years to claim the tax-free jackpot prize drawn on April 1, 2017. Despite regular appeals to the public, he or she never came forward with the auspicious ticket. According to newspaper Münchner Merkur, the ticket was purchased between March 29 and April 1, 2017. Three days after the numbers were drawn, Lotto Baden-Württemberg tweeted information on the win, including the likely location of its winner.

The missing golden ticket

That was the million-dollar question likely to have crossed the minds of some of the 116,000 inhabitants of Reutlingen, a city in southern Germany near to Stuttgart.

The ticket was purchased in a lotto outlet anonymously, rather than online or by a registered subscriber. This means that the gambling association had no way to contact the winner and that physical ticket with the drawn numbers would have been required to claim the winnings in person.

It is thought to be Germany's biggest ever unclaimed prize. But after a three-year search for the winner, a multi-million euro jackpot has been poured back into the draw. ]]>