That Didn’t Last Long: 6 Lottery Winners Who Lost Their Millions

By Andrew Salmon

We’ve all dreamed of being rich and winning a lottery is the easiest way to get rich quick. But for those lucky few for whom the stars have aligned, what should be a joyous occasion can turn into a nightmare. It’s estimated that one in three lotto winners lose their fortunes within a few years of winning.

Here is a list of six lottery winners who lost their millions.

6. Ken Proxmire

Ken won a cool million and quit his job as a machinist to move to California and start a car business with his brothers. Five years later he filed for bankruptcy. Easy come, hard to go – a familiar theme with lottery winners past and present.

5. Janite Lee

Lee won $18 million dollars and was broke just 8 years later. Talk about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. Lee supported a variety of causes from politics to education and helping her community. Her reward? Filing for bankruptcy with only $700 to her name.

4. Susan Mullins

Even a hefty jackpot of $4.2 million can disappear in the blink of an eye. A company lent her money, using her winnings as collateral but she did not meet the payments when her uninsured son-in-law was taken ill. Now she is in debt to the company and has no assets.

3. William Bud Post

Had $16.2 million drop into his lap in 1988 and today lives on food stamps and social security after his brother hired a hitman to kill him, an ex-girlfriend successfully sued him for a share of the money and his other siblings bled him white pestering him for loans.

2. Evelyn Adams

Can a two time winner be a two time loser? Apparently so. Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey State Lottery twice in the 1980s with jackpots totaling $5.4 million. Today the money is gone and she lives in a trailer park. She gambled a chunk of it away, and was also bled dry by relatives looking for handouts.

1. Andrew Jackson Whittaker Jr.

A successful businessman, Whittaker snagged a $113 million Powerball jackpot. Rather than putting him on easy street, his ticket was a one way trip to hell and within 4 years all the money was gone. He was drugged and robbed, twice. Lawsuits flew at him fast and furious and personal blunders along with handouts ate up the fortune.

There is a sad familiar theme here: nice guys finish last. Most of these winners, unable or unwilling to say no let too many familiar hands into their suddenly deep pockets and spiraled down into bankruptcy and ruin. It’s a shame that something so wonderful as a cash windfall comes with such a hefty price tag and that one must transform into Ebenezer Scrooge or else risk asking the people you’ve loaned your winnings to for a handout in a few years. So the next time you’re purchasing that lotto ticket and wishing for that magic moment, be careful what you wish for, you might get it.