Winning the lottery is always a life-changing experience. That amount of money can certainly change the life of a lottery player, for the better or for the worse. In the past, I’ve witnessed both life stories. On the one hand, poor lottery players won the lottery and lived well while keeping their heads cool. On the other hand, normal people like you and me won the lottery, and went on shopping sprees, buying luxurious houses, yachts, fancy cars, and a lot of other useless, unnecessary stuff.
Here are the 9 poorest lottery winners. At one point in time, these were and some of them still are the definition of being poor. Some of them were poor, then became rich, others became rich, and went on a downward spiral, losing it all to parties and non-sustainable lifestyles.
Sharon Tiribassi From Canada – Won $10,000,000 and She’s Back on Welfare
Fortunately, her children won’t have to live her life all over again, because she put some money in trusts and they can get it out once they turn 26. So what happened to our Sharon?
She won the Ontario Lottery, that’s more than $10,000,000 Canadian dollars in her bank account. A few years after she was the luckiest lottery player, she lost it all, she wasted it all. Parties, loans, gifts, luxurious houses, fancy cars, she did all of these things. She ended up broke.
Today she has two low-paying jobs that pay the bills and that’s it. Hopefully, her children will have pleasant lives, thanks to her wise thinking.
Willie Hurt – A Lottery Player Turned into a Drug Addict
Willie’s story goes way back to the 1980s. The luckiest moment of his life was when he won $3.1m. It didn’t take him long before he turned into the one thing every single one of us despises, drugs. Apparently crack was more dear to him than living a happy, joyful life with his friends and family. $3.1m is a lot, more than enough to live a comfy life, regardless of how long it is.
Besides losing it all, he even got charged with murder. Now that’s a really sad story. He was at the top, but he reached rock bottom. From a lottery millionaire, he became a drug addict, he killed his girlfriend and he wound up in jail.
Alex Toth – He Lived a Life of Ups and Downs and Stupid Decisions
Alex Toth and his family were living below the poverty line. The moment Alex Toth bought his ticket he had only $25 left, to feed his family for a whole week. That’s not enough. That’s nowhere near enough. So Alex made the right decision. He bought the winning in 1990 which brought him a staggering $13m. If he had some experience with money, maybe he wouldn’t have ended up out on the street, thrown out by his children whom he accused of animal cruelty.
Yeah, this is exactly what happened with the Toths. Once they wasted all the money on gambling, parties, and expensive tickets, they ended up living in a double-wide trailer. His children caved in and reconciled with Alex, who I must admit, I wouldn’t have taken back. I hate liars.
Callie Rogers – A Teenage Lottery Millionaire Went Bankrupt
The law regarding the lottery in the US state that no person younger than 18 years old can take part in a lottery. However, in the UK there’s no such thing. Callie Rogers was the lucky and the unlucky lottery winner. She was only 16 when she became a lottery millionaire, winning $3m. She treated her friends and family with gifts, luxurious trips, loans, and other “worthless” things.
She acted as if she had won $1b, not $3m. It didn’t take her long to spend all the money. Now, she’s working 3 low-paying jobs and she hopes she can find some sort of happiness in poverty. Apparently, $3m was not enough to make her feel happy. Let’s see if 3 jobs can make her happy. Callie definitely deserves a spot on our poorest lottery winners list.
Janite Lee – Apparently Karma Doesn’t Work for Bad Money Management
I think bad money management is the appropriate term. Unlike the previous lottery winners, Janite failed by doing good things, philanthropic, benevolent, call them whatever you like. Regardless, Janite opted for $920,000 per year, instead of the lump sum. She was 60 when she started this philanthropic madness that wasted her money. Lee helped every individual she could. Before she received the full jackpot amount, she traded the yearly installments for one lump sum.
Janite spent this as well. Furthermore, not only was she broke, but she was $2.5m in debt. Sometimes being good and generous is not the best idea.
Denise and Thomas Rossi – A Marriage With a Big Twist
Denise and Thomas were more than 20 years of marriage, happy, and devoted to each other. All of a sudden, Denise showed Thomas divorce papers. He was stunned by what he was looking at because he always thought they were a happy couple. It turns out, Denise hated him because he was always broke. That’s a lame excuse to tell someone with whom you’ve been with for more than 20 years.
So what happened? Denise won the lottery a few days before she dropped the bomb on Thomas. I don’t want to be in his shoes, that’s for sure. Denise wanted the money all for herself. Fortunately for Thomas, according to California’s laws, not disclosing all assets during divorce proceeds is a criminal act. The court made a decision once they found out about the jackpot Denise was hiding from her now ex-husband. The decision was in Thomas’s favor, granting him the complete sum of money. If Denise was honest about this whole situation she would’ve gotten half of the jackpot. Technically, she is a lottery winner that ended up alone, and homeless because Thomas threw her away.
Luke Pittard – A Lottery Winner That’s Flipping Burgers
Luke Pittard won more than $1.8m, yet, today he’s flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Believe it or not, he spent the complete amount he won on a trip to the Canary Islands, a house, and a marvelous wedding. Although poor, Luke says he’s happy. I have no reason to believe otherwise since he’s laughing about this.
I wish I attended that wedding, it must have been one hell of a party. I think Luke Pittard’s story ended with the best possible outcome. He does have a few thousand dollars accruing interest. Nobody got shot, nobody’s in jail, no divorces, nothing. He’s a happy, but poor lottery winner.
Americo Lopes – The Rogue Lottery Player from New Jersey
Americo Lopes, once a kind construction worker won the New Jersey lottery. At the time, he was playing the lottery with his colleagues from work. So what happened? How did he go broke?
Americo had the winning ticket. They won the lottery, but he was so selfish he quit his work stating he needed foot surgery. He wanted to keep the money all for himself. It’s human nature to brag about what we do. Mr. Lopes here is no different than any other lottery winner. Soon after he left his job he came in clean with one of his former colleagues. Once the truth was out the case was reported to the local court. Lopes lost the trial and was ordered to share the money with his colleagues. Furthermore, he paid the tax bill. His cut was the smallest one. He didn’t lose it all per se, but he did try to be sneaky and misuse the trust his colleagues had in him.
The One Who Won Twice and Lost It All – Evelyn Adams
This elderly lady managed to win the lottery twice, big time! Evelyn is the all-time champion among the poorest lottery players. She started small, living a modest life. Evelyn won the lottery for the first time in 1985. The following year she won the lottery again. In total, Mrs. Adams won $5.4m. A decade later she was spotted living in a trailer park, all alone.
There are rumors that she gambled it all away in Atlantic City. I bet she had the time of her life. After all, with $5.4m you can do quite a lot of things, parties, booze, and gambling. Nevertheless, she’s the role model of how one lottery winner must not behave. I’m 100% positive I can keep my head cool, even if I had $5.4m in my wallet. Always keep your head cool!