Lotto Winners: Who Lost Everything?

Winning the lottery is a life-changing event that few of us experience.

The odds of having a winning ticket are so low that most people won’t ever come close to scooping a prize. However, this doesn’t stop people from trying their luck and holding out for a big win at the best $10 deposit online casino in Australia.

If you’re lucky enough to have a winning lottery ticket, your life can change in so many positive ways. Many winners have wonderful lives and avoid problems like debt and addiction because they’re sensible with their money.

That being said, not all lottery winners go on to live happily ever. Some of them lose control of their finances and end up losing everything. Here are the stories of some lottery winners who blew their winnings.

Britain’s Youngest Lottery Winner, Callie Rogers

Callie Rogers made headlines in 2003 when she won the UK National Lottery at the age of 16. She became Britain’s youngest-ever lottery winner and still holds the title to this day. Her lottery win was £1.87 million (roughly AUD 5.33 million). When she landed her lottery win, she worked as a shop assistant and earned £3.60 (AUD 10.26); following her win, she quit her job.

Callie is now 33 years old and is a mother to four young children. She’s receiving Universal Credit, having blown through nearly all of her winnings, like many other lottery winners. It’s been reported that she’s spent over half a million pounds on homes for herself and close family; she’s also spent hundreds of thousands on things like holidays, cosmetic surgery and drugs. In an interview, she admitted to falling in with the wrong crowd following her win and called for the legal age for playing the UK lottery to be raised to 18.

Two More UK National Lottery Winners: John Roberts and Michael Carroll

Another Brit who won the National Lottery is John Roberts from Edinburgh, who in 1998 won a total of £3.1 million (AUD 7.7 million) from playing the lottery. Just three years later, his fortune was gone, and he had to move into a mobile home. He had spent his money on a fleet of expensive cars and had made some investments that didn’t return profits.

Then there’s Michael Carrol, who was just 19 when he won £9.7 million (AUD 27.4 million) on the UK’s National Lottery in 2002. When he became a winner, he worked as a binman earning minimum wage.

Just four years after his win, it was reported that nearly all the money was gone. Michael had supposedly spent his fortune on homes, parties, drugs, and gifts for family and friends. By 2010, the former convict was back at his former job, earning minimum wage again.

William Post, Winner of the Pennsylvania Lottery

Unfortunately, some winners end up spending all their money in no time at all. A case in point is William Post, who in 1988 won the Pennsylvania Lottery and took home a $16.2 million prize (roughly AUD 22.35 million).

He proceeded to spend his lottery winnings on…

  • A range of expensive homes;
  • Numerous boats;
  • A collection of cars;
  • A twin-engine plane.

He had never taken lessons despite purchasing a plane, so he couldn’t actually fly the thing.

Within a year or so, William’s lottery money was just about gone, and he eventually ended up with $1 million in debt due to his excessive spending.

While he still had money to his name, his brother tried to have him murdered so he could get hold of the cash. On top of that, William’s ex-girlfriend tried to sue him for a share of his winnings. When he died at the age of 66, he was living on food stamps.

Gerald Muswagon, Winner of a Canadian Lottery

In 2011, Gerald Muswagon purchased a lottery ticket for just two Canadian dollars. This ticket turned him into a multi-millionaire with a $10 million (AUD 10.1 million) fortune to his name. It took him just a few years to squander his winnings, which he did thanks to his lavish party lifestyle, spending his winnings on the house, numerous cars and lots of drugs.

He also ended up getting involved in some sticky legal situations. Eventually, he worked on a farm to support his family, consisting of himself, his girlfriend and their six children. Things didn’t end well for Gerald because seven years after landing the huge win.

Billie Bob Harrell Jr., Winner of the Lotto Texas Jackpot

American Billie Bob Harrell Jr. won the staggering sum of 31 million dollars, which is equivalent to 38.75 million Australian dollars, on the Lotto Texas Jackpot in 1997.

He spent his winnings on homes for himself and his wife, along with homes for family members. He also purchased a range of cars. As he was deeply religious, he donated a lot of his money to his local church, even going so far as to make donations to individual churchgoers to help them with various problems.

Sadly, Billie ended up with hardly any money to his name just two years after becoming a huge lotto winner. His marriage was practically over because of his financial situation, and not being able to cope; he tragically locked himself in a room and shot himself.

That means that we should learn from our mistakes as well as the casinos also learn some useful lessons to be prosperous.

David Lee Edwards, Winner of the Powerball

David Lee Edward won the Powerball in 2001, earning a prize of $27 million (AUD 48.6 million). Nearly half of it was gone about a year after winning the huge sum of money, nearly half of it was gone.

David and his wife had spent the prize on mansions, a series of expensive cars and even a plane. They also became addicted to drugs, which they spent a considerable portion of their winnings on.

Just five years after the lottery win, David and his wife were broke and had resorted to living in a storage shed. Twelve years after the win, David, aged 58, died alone in hospice care; his wife was no longer with him when he passed.

Two Winners Who Lost Control of Their Finances

Bricklayer Francisco Guerrero from Spain won his country’s Bonoloto back in 2005, earning a prize of €6.47 million, which is equivalent to AUD 21.9 million.

To help manage his finances, he employed an adviser before making some investments. However, these investments didn’t turn out well, and Francisco ended up losing all of his winnings, along with his properties. Then there was Canadian Sharon Tirabassi, whose life changed overnight when in 2004, she won a total of $10.5 million, roughly AUD 10.4 million.

Nine years later, Sharon was reported to be working a part-time job to support her family as she’d spent nearly all of the lottery money she’d won. What’s left of her winnings is held in a trust for her children.

Like lots of other winners, she fell into the trap of spending too much and losing control of her finances. As well as making extravagant purchases for herself, she bought lots of expensive things for friends and family.

Janite Lee, Winner of the Missouri Lottery

Winning tickets can be a godsend, but they can become a nightmare if you’re not careful. This is the case for South Korean-born Janite Lee, who played the Missouri Lottery in 1993.

She ended up winning the lottery and earning $18 million, which is approximately AUD 26 million. At the time of her win, she worked as a wig maker and wasn’t earning much money. Eight years later, not only had she spent her fortune, but she also owed a total of $2.5 million (AUD 3.6 million) to a number of different creditors. She had bought lots of expensive things on credit. She didn’t pay her debts off in time, and the interest grew, increasing the size of the debts further.

As well as buying things, Janite shared her wealth with charitable organisations. She was always something of a philanthropist and didn’t just want to spend her winnings on herself. She donated millions to charities; she gave money to the Democrat party.

The Unique Cases of Evelyn Basehore and Denise Rossi

Having one lottery win is incredible. Having two is unheard of. Evelyn Basehore from New Jersey won two different lottery prizes within four months in the mid-80s.

These two lottery prizes together earned her $5.4 million, or AUD 6.5 million. She spent a lot of her winnings on gambling, apparently hoping that she would be lucky enough to become even richer. However, this tactic didn’t work, and she ended up losing her fortune.

After spending most of her money on gambling, she ended up living in a trailer park. With her prize money gone, she had to work two jobs to make ends meet. However, she kept on buying lottery tickets, hoping another big win would come around.

As for Denise Rossie, her story is somewhat different. The California resident won $1.3 million (AUD 1.75 million) on the state lottery in 1996, and just 11 days later, she filed for divorce from her husband. She had been happily married to him for 25 years.

Her husband, Thomas Rossi, found out about her win and took her to court. The judge who oversaw the case concluded that Denise had broken asset-disclosing laws by trying to hide the win from her husband. In a remarkable twist, the judge awarded Thomas his wife’s entire lottery winnings.

One of the Biggest Lottery Winners, Andrew ‘Jack’ Whittaker

Many people who buy lottery tickets don’t have a great amount of money to their name. They hope they won’t have to worry about financial matters as much.

Andrew ‘Jack’ Whittaker wasn’t like most lottery players. When the American construction boss won the huge sum of $113 million (AUD 220 million) on the Powerball in 2002, he was already a millionaire worth $17 million (AUD 33 million).

Even though he was used to having and managing large amounts of money, he still ended up getting into a difficult situation. At first, he managed his newfound wealth well, making sensible donations and carefully thought-out investments.

By 2007, just five years after winning a massive cash prize, Andrew was declared bankrupt. He claimed to have been robbed several times and said that some of his investments didn’t turn out to be as lucrative as he’d expected.

Also, over five years, he lost three close family members, which he struggled to deal with. Some of his debts went unpaid as a result of this.

At one point, he even told reporters that he wished he’d torn up his ticket instead of cashing it in and receiving the nine-figure prize.


These stories are examples of how winning the lottery isn’t always the best thing that can happen to you. Even though becoming a multi-millionaire can be an amazing experience, winning so much money can be detrimental if you don’t manage it properly.

If you ever happen to win the lottery, by all means, enjoy spending your money, but don’t forget that it’s not unlimited. Always have a plan for what to do when the prize is gone because it can be easy to get into the habit of spending.