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Dumb and Dumber: 6 Painful Lessons from the Past Lottery Winners

Past lottery winners

Past Lottery Winners Proved That Luck Could Change

I just purchased my Mega Millions lottery ticket and I’m anxiously awaiting for the numbers. Right now, the jackpot is $247 million dollars! Who in their right mind wouldn’t want a chance to win that kind of money, right?

If I eventually get lucky enough to win this massive sum, I really hope that I don’t lose my mind like some lottery jackpot recipients have done. Never doubt human stupidity! Here are 6 painful lessons we can all learn from the experience of others in order not to repeat their unbelievable mistakes.

6. Be Careful When Going Out and Bringing Your Jackpot Along

You’ve just won the jackpot and naturally, you want to celebrate. There’s nothing wrong with the urge, but hold on – boy, do I have a story and a lesson for you. If you want to go out and celebrate, you may as well leave the cash behind. Otherwise, you’ll end up like Jack Whittaker. Our good friend Jack won 315 million dollars from the Powerball lottery. Just like any other person, he decided to celebrate. Going to a strip club was Jack’s best idea. Unfortunately, he brought a massive sum along. At the end of the night, Jack was 545,000 dollars poorer before someone had managed to rob him while he was enjoying the dance skills of the ladies.

5. Never Have Someone Claim the Prize for You

Back in 2010, Jose Antonio Cua-Toc of Guatemala played the lottery and won $750,000 Because he was an illegal immigrant, he was afraid of not being able to cash in the prize so he did what any trusting foreigner would do—he asked his employer, Erick Cervantes, to cash the money in for him. Of course, Cervantes did cash the winning ticket, and predictably, he kept the money. Cua-Toc took his employer to court and after two years battling it out, the state of Georgia awarded the immigrant the winnings, which will amount to less than $500,000 after taxes. The Georgian Court also awarded Cua-Toc $207,000 in attorney costs and another $25,000 for punitive damages.

4. Don’t Commit Crime after Winning the Lottery!

You would think that with enough money, you wouldn’t have any problems staying out of trouble. It appears that for some people, trouble is just around the corner regardless of the circumstances. This was the case with John Ross Jr. who won the California lottery Set for Life scratch-off back in 2012. The ticket promised a payout of $100,000 ($70,000 after taxes) per year for 20 years. Ross was arrested because he was allegedly linked to the theft of a Honda Civic. It is believed that Ross helped a woman who stole the car hide and repair it. Ross had to use a portion of his winnings to bail himself out of jail. Do you want to know the irony of the whole story? When he was asked what he would do with his winnings, John said he wanted to buy a car. Maybe he’ll want to go to a dealer to make that purchase just to be safe.

3. Trying to Trick the System is a Big No-No!

In 2011, a woman in Lincoln Park, Michigan, Amanda Clayton won a $1 million jackpot in the “Make Me Rich!” game show that was sponsored by the Michigan Lottery. Well, this is all well and good, except at the time, Clayton was collecting public assistance at the time. It is believed that Clayton allegedly never reported her winnings and collected assistance between August 2011 and March 2012. During this time she collected about $5,475 dollars’ worth of food and medical assistance, which she would have not been eligible to receive if she reported her earnings. The real kicker is that Clayton felt entitled to the assistance. She has gone on record saying, “I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought maybe it was okay because I’m not working… I feel that it’s okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay. I have two houses… It’s just hard, you know. I’m struggling.” Gee… Maybe sell one of those houses and then you wouldn’t need to collect assistance?

2. Snort or Inject Your Winnings? You Better Think Again!

What is it with coming into any kind of money that makes you want to turn to drugs? I’ll never understand it! There are a great number of lotto winners who have gotten into problems that usually stem from some kind of drug use. Take for instance, Michael Carroll, who won the British National Lottery in 2002 in the amount of £9,736,131 (then US$15.4m). The troubles began when he started being caught drunk driving and he also got into illicit drugs. Two other lottery winners who turned to drug use were two brothers in Wichita, Kansas who blew up their house in 2013 after they purchased pot and meth so they could celebrate their $75,000 win.

1. Don’t Try to Double the Winnings by Gambling

Okay, gambling is how you won your millions, so why-oh-why would you gamble more? This is the case with New Jersey native, Evelyn Adams, who won a total sum of $5.4 million dollars between 1985 and 1986. Adams has admitted that she is a risk taker and she spent the majority of her millions in Atlantic City. Now, Adams is broke and has gone on record to say: “I was a big time gambler. I didn’t drop a million dollars, but it was a lot of money. I made mistakes, some I regret, some I don’t. I’m human. I can’t go back now so I just go forward, one step at a time.”