Have you ever dreamed about winning the lottery? Probably you will say yes, because who wouldn’t want to become a millionaire over a night and solve all your financial problems? What would you do first? Get that fancy house with a big pool or buy that shiny car, or maybe donate it all to the charity? Here are seven crazy stories about ten lucky tickets and what winners did with their trophy.
$1.586 billion (Powerball)
This is still the US biggest Powerball jackpot, that was drawn on January 13, 2016. There were three lucky tickets from Tennessee, California and Florida, all had an option to take $533 million before taxes as an annuity or $327.8 million as the lump-sum payment. All winners took the lump-sum payment, as one of them said: “We’re not guaranteed tomorrow”.
One of the happy couples was the Robinsons from Tennessee who planned to keep their lives as it is, live in the same house and keep their jobs. Now after a few years, it is known they are living in a huge house with a home theatre by a private lake. Although Lisa Robinson was planning to continue her job in a dermatologist’s office, she quit the second day after their win as she wasn’t treated well.
Another couple who took their share of a $1.586 billion prize was Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt from Melbourne Beach. When asked if Maureen had any plans for the money, she said: ”I just know I want to help the special people in my life.” Meanwhile, David planned to retire from his job and upgrade his truck. And now they are still living in the same house and it looks like money hasn’t changed them. A neighbour of theirs said: “I expect the winnings have been invested carefully for their family’s future, but their money is their business and I would never ask about it.”
Although the lottery win changes lives it by no means changes the heart. As a great example of this are the Acostas – third couple who won their share of the Powerball prize. Soon after their win, they started a charity business – the Acosta Foundation to help various organizations around the world. Those same organizations have become the subject of many scams. The Acosta have disappeared from public life since their landmark win, and scammers have taken advantage of their silence. But it goes without saying that lottery winners are not emailing random people in order to send them millions of dollars.
€190 Million (EuroMillions, UK)
One of Europe’s biggest prizes was won on August 10, 2012, by Adrian and Gillian Bayford. Unfortunately, the couple split the following year because of the stress of the win. For now, Gillian lives happily in Dundee with their kids and her new husband. As for Adrian, life wasn’t so easy, after divorcing in 2013, he started dating a sausage factory worker Marta Jarosz but soon left her because of Sam Burbidge. The couple split in 2017, Sam left him and took 30 prize horses Adrian bought for her. He then got with waitress Lisa Kemp, needless she left him after finding the emails he sent to Marta. In 2019 Adrian moved to Scotland and now lives within walking distance of Gillian and their kids.
$768 million (Powerball, US)
Manuel Franco from Wisconsin became a winner of a $768 million Powerball jackpot on March 27, 2019. Franco accepted the lump sum and received over $326 million after taxes. After his win, he gave an interview to post saying “I’m sure you’ll never see me as like one of the people who went bankrupt or broke or anything like that. I plan to live my life normally as much as possible”. For all that he went to work the next day after the win but was so anxious that he never showed up to work again. In one of his interviews, Manuel said he wants to remain in the shadows, so it’s unknown where and how he lives now. Although there were several reports about a scam involving social media users pretending to be Manuel. The frauds were attempting to bait victims for their personal information by offering them some of Manuel’s winnings. Luckily they were caught and punished.
$758 million (Powerball, US)
Manuel wasn’t the only lottery winner on whose behalf the scammers wanted to take advantage. Mavis L. Wanczyk was the lucky winner of a $758 million Powerball prize back in 2017. Without any other winners to share the prize with, she took home over $336 million after taxes. Soon after she claimed her prize, a scam started appearing in which many people received the emails. The content of the emails indicated that you were randomly chosen to receive a large cash prize from Mavis Wanczyk and all you had to do was to provide your personal information. Despite these unpleasant events, it seems that Mavis life unfolded quite successfully. Before her huge success in Powerball, she has been working at the Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts for 32 years. When she found out she had won the lottery, she called her employer and said she would no longer come to work. Asked about what she wanted to do with her winnings, Wanczyk shared: “I just want to sit back and relax.” It looks like her plan came true, with that kind of money, it’s hard to imagine otherwise.
$590.5 million (Powerball, US)
Gloria MacKenzie won the $590.5 million Powerball jackpot in 2013 and took home about $278 million after taxes with nobody else to split the prize. Just after her win, she bought a new apartment by a seaside and donated $2 million for a Maine high school’s repairs. Gloria also pledged to share her winnings with her son, Scott, because he helped her buy the winning ticket. But where there’s big money, there’re big problems. Although it seems everything had to go in a good direction, in 2019 it was reported that Gloria had brought her son to court. The lawsuit claims that her son hired a financial advisor who had no experience in managing huge sums of money. Such an accusation doesn’t appear unconscious as the financial advisor that Scott turned management of his mother’s share is the man who hosted a local radio show that Scott listened to. The case is still on the court, and Gloria still doesn’t talk with her son.
As these stories show, you can buy things, but you can’t buy happiness. There is no universal scenario for all situations, some people lose themselves after their wins, spend all their money on stuff they don’t need, while others measure nine times before they spend a cent. It all depends on you, so don’t forget to dream and play.