10 Lottery Winners Who Lost it All


Winning is a lottery that figures at the top of most human fantasies. A life of unlimited luxuries, fawning friends and families and best of all not having to work for any of it at all. And yet despite holding the key to supreme bliss, some lottery winners have found their dreams in tatters, either due to their own foolishness or because of sheer bad luck. Here is an account of 10 lottery winners who hit the jackpot and then lost it all.

  1. Evelyn Adams

    In the precursor to the most incredible riches-to-rags story ever perhaps, Evelyn Adams defied all odds to win not one but two lottery jackpots in the mid-'80s. Adams won the first time in 1985 and then again in 1986, raking in a cool $5.4 million from the New Jersey lottery. Unfortunately she was also a heavy gambler. And with Atlantic City being located in New Jersey, it wasn't long before Adams had lost all her money.  She now lives in a trailer park and is flat broke.

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  2. William Post

    In 1988, William "Bud" Post won a $16.2 million jackpot in the Pennsylvania state lottery. It may have seemed that all this dreams would now come true but unfortunately the win brought him little else other than problems. An ex-girlfriend sued him for a share of winnings and won.  His family proved even worse what with his brother hired a hit man to try to kill him hoping to inherit some winnings. , then there were other relatives constantly bugging him for money. He invested in ill-fated family businesses and within a year was $1m in debt. Eventually Post filed for bankruptcy. He now lives on food stamps and a $450 month stipend.
  3. William Hurt

    In 1989, William Hurt won a $3.1 million jackpot in the Michigan Lottery and was looking forward to fulfilling all his desires. Unfortunately within just two years of the win, the man got divorced, lost custody of his children and was even charged with attempted murder. Worst of all Hurt developed a severe crack-cocaine addiction with the result that he blew though his entire fortune.
  4. Charles Riddle

    Another lottery winner who lost it all because of drug addiction is Charles Riddle. At just twenty five years, he won $1 million  in a lottery jackpot in 1975 which would be more than $4 million by today's numbers but all this was not enough to make him happy. The win was quickly followed by a divorce. He also faced several lawsuits and got caught up in drug trafficking, though investigators were never able to link Riddle's cocaine distribution with his jackpot winnings. Within eight years of his win, he landed in a U.S. District Court on drug charges and in 1985 was indicted for selling cocaine, a crime that earned him a three-year stint in federal prison.
  5. Ken Proxmire

    A tool-grinder from Michigan, Ken Proxmire, won $1 million in the 1977 Michigan Lottery. He moved to the sunshine state of California, and invested in a car business with his brothers. But Fortune no longer smiled on him and Five years later, he was bankrupt and back working as a machinist.
  6. Janite Lee

    Sometimes not just vicious temptations but even bad planning can lead to loss of a windfall. Janite Lee won $18 million in 1993. Even though she garnered appreciation for her generosity in giving money to a variety of political, educational and community causes but just eight years later she found herself practically destitute and filed for bankruptcy.
  7. Suzanne Mullins

    Mullins won the lottery back in 1993 and opted for yearly payouts instead of a lump sum. Not before long, she found herself in debt and then further goofed by using her future payouts as collateral for a $200,000 loan. Even though Mullins later switched to a lump sum payout, she could never pay back her debts. The loan company filed suit and won judgment for a $154000 settlement but they could not collect anything because Mullins reportedly had no assets lefts.
  8. Billy Bob Harell Jr.

    No matter how huge the winnings, if a guy cannot keep his head, he is sure to lose it all in the end. This is what happened to Billy Harell, when he hit the $31 million jackpot back in 1997. A Pentecostal preacher working as a stock boy at Home Depot, Billy at first reached out for the good things of life, buying a ranch, six other homes, and some new cars. Like many others who win the lottery, he was simply unable to refuse when people asked him for a handout. Eventually all his money from the winnings was finished, he divorced his wife and finally committed suicide, the stress apparently too much to handle for this lottery winner.
  9. Jeffrey Dampier

    In the rarest of cases, a whopping lottery win is just bad mojo – instead of lavishing the pleasures of this world on the winner, it simply invites negative forces. Dampier and his wife won the $20 million prize back in 1996 and used the winnings to help his family out by buying them houses and the like. He also started a gourmet popcorn store in Tampa, Florida which for a change from other hard-headed lottery winner-turned-entrepreneurs performed quite well and provided jobs for his family. But tragically, Dampier fell victim to a murderous family. In July of 2005, Dampier went to visit his sister-in-law and her boyfriend when she claimed she had car troubles. Her boyfriend pulled a pistol on Dampier and the two kidnapped him and killed him. Even though the criminals were ultimately convicted in 2006 and 2006 and received life sentences for their crimes, it was all over for Dampier and his wife, for no fault of theirs.
  10. Luke Pittard

    Sometimes though lottery winners who run through their windfall may not be all that unhappy in the end. A case in point is Welshman Luke Pittard who won £1.3 million jackpot or $1.9 million in 2006 but spent it all on a luxury vacation to the Canary Islands, a lavish wedding and a huge house. A year-and-a-half later, Pittard was forced to take up a job in a McDonald's flipping burgers. On his part though, Pittard says he's happy and some of the leftover from the winnings still collect interest.