Lottery stories that turned to tragedies in the long run


This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Why winning the lottery almost killed this teenager.

Stop me if you have heard this one before, “ Money cannot buy happiness” Despite the few advertisements we see on the internet and TV about making sudden money, it is widely accepted that coming into sudden wealth without having truly earned it would not make your life any better, in fact, it might just make things worse. Especially when it comes to a big flashy televised event with your face and name plastered all over, you know, like the lottery. Well, we are not short of examples from CSI to Phoenix Wright winning the lottery seems to only bring misery and pain. Whoosh this is depressing.

Today's topic is gambling which is notoriously becoming a common addiction of the youth nowadays. Today I am not here to tell you what to do with your money or time, I just want to explore this phenomenon from an unbiased perspective.
image of Michael Caroll the "Lotto lout"website/

Happy lottery stories seem few and far between, so let us focus on a larger-than-life case of 19-year-old Briton, Michael Carroll. He quickly became one of the most infamous winners- starting his fame by collecting his winnings wearing a police tracking anklet for the crime of drunk driving. He won 14.4 million dollars in 2002 in the lottery in Britain. He then went about spending his newly found fortune responsibly, investing in his future, and keeping a low profile….except he did none of those things.

The first thing Michael did?...was to quit his job as a garbage man. Michael kept partying, gaining nicknames like the “Lotto Lout” and the “King of Chavs”. For those who do not know, Lout is the British word for a lazy, untidy, and idle man. And Chav is a derogatory term used for lower-income people who dress in sports clothing and jewelry. He spent about 5.2 million dollars on friends and family which seems fine on paper but according to Michael himself can become a problem for winners.

He also purchased a 5 bedroom mansion known as “The Grange” for 450,000 dollars according to the Dailyparties Mail. Followed by another 524,000 dollars renovating it into a personal party house. Here he would entertain guests, with the fine English art of the destruction derby in his garden and massive parties that involved a copious amount of …vices including for the lack of the better word “companionship”… companionship?.... He did what?...well you can imagine what he did, I cannot write it.

Micheal kept up his previous lifestyle indulging in the luxuries of life like “bling’ and cars and getting in trouble with the law; first shooting pellet guns at cars, holding rowdy all-night parties at hotels, and even throwing BigMacs at pedestrians?...wait is that also part?... Oh goodness. It was not all parties though; he also suffered two failed relationships and was extorted by local gangs according to local interviews. In the end, Michael was down to his last 1 million dollars in 2005; Wow…just 3 years and he had spent almost 15 million dollars? He sold his mansion at a significant loss in 2010 due to damages.

He moved to Scotland and after a brief time of homelessness, now has a steady job and a place to live. Michaels story ends on a happier note than most people who win the lottery. At least no one died...Using Michael as a case study we can identify 4 common points in which lottery winners pout their money into, even if his spending was more extravagant than others.

The first one is quitting jobs after winning: Odds are if you hear that someone has won the jackpot, you’ve seen this happen. Which to some extent makes sense. Relaxing without having to think about money is a true paradise. This is what Laura and Roger Griffiths did when they won 2.3 million dollars in the lottery. They left their jobs as a Teacher and IT manager respectively. Their winnings lasted less than 10 years after vacations, investing in a spa and buying a home for 1 million dollars. What?

Their marriage also ended with their fortune; as the two divorced with the wife having to sell off her possessions to feed the children, blaming her husband for their financial distress. This brings us to point 2.

Buying expensive homes: An example is William Post III, a drifter who won 16.8 million dollars from the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988. He bought himself a mansion for $800,000 in today's money. It later sold for $65,000 after years of neglect. He also bought a plane, hmmmmmmmn. He also lost one-third of his winnings to his former landlady, who had actually paid for a third of the lottery tickets he had bought. He also faced an attempt on the lives of him and his wife by his brother who wanted to inherit his money. Thankfully for William, the hitman his brother hired was a police informant so his life was saved. Despite all of this and the sale of most of his property, William later spent all of his remaining 2.6 million dollars on 2 houses, cars, motorcycles, TVs, computers, a luxury camper, and a sail boat. He then received a restraining order from the police for firing a rifle gun at his now divorced wife in her car and was arrested on a boat for firing a shotgun at a debt collector and then went back to his old drifter life. This brings us to point 3

Expensive lifestyle changes: you know, buy expensive cars, jewelry,dogs luxury items, and vices. Britains youngest lotto winner, 16-year-old Callie Rogers won 1.9 million pounds in 2003 and spent it on expensive clothes, vacations, cars, a breast, augmentation does, and an of a million dollars solely on uh uh..stuff? Oh oh…that’s depressing, after blowing through her fortune, Callie went through a bout of depression and was taken to the hospital after being savagely beaten by two women dog sitting at her boyfriend's house. She now says she regrets not keeping enough of her winnings to help her youngest son blake who suffers from cerebral palsy( an intellectual disablement). Though she did purchase her mother a nice home. It is nice to help the people you care about. This brings us to the last point

Giving to friends and family: Spending that cash without thinking about it, even for benevolent reasons can have negative consequences. Take, John Wittaker, already worth 17 million dollars113.9 million dollars thanks to his construction work, he took home 113.9 million dollars from the lottery in 2002. Besides drinks and gentlemen's clubs, he spent his fortune building churches, setting up a foundation to help others, and sharing money with his granddaughter. His granddaughter later passed away due to a drug overdose, something that she blamed on the money. But spending so much money gets attention and soon his foundation was hit with so many requests that the postal service could not even deliver the mail and was even accosted in public for money.

Should all these be surprising? Well maybe not. Szifra Birke, a wealth counselor said that “for many people who come into wealth suddenly ..if they have not acquired good money skills before the windfall, often they struggle and make poor choices”. This is true in all the cases we have seen today.

So, in that case, what should you do if all of a sudden you come into wealth through the lottery sale,winning Well I suggest first you take some time to clear your head, Hire a lawyer, a financial adviser, and an accountant and if you have to give interviews of a release your name, maybe set up a new P.O box and a new phone number to protect your identity. Another idea is to set a budget .

Whooo. This was a heavy story. Let me ask a question….if you were in Michael'sshoes, what will you do? Or what will you do if you win millions of dollars in a lottery draw? Let me know in the comments down below. winning

Comments / 0

Published by

Hi there, here at WisdomTree we talk about everything and anything that has got to do with making money, achieving financial freedom and self development. I will be sharing with your stories that are worthwhile and also my own personal journey to financial freedom along the way

California State

More from WisdomTree

Comments / 0