What would you do if you ever win millions from the lottery?
Most people would want to make their lives better, travel, enjoy the lifestyle of the rich and the famous, or help their loved ones. But again, we’re not speaking about these everyday lottery winners. Instead, we’d like to talk about the people who do something so out of the box that nobody would have guessed it.
We are talking about runaway lottery winners. Yes, some people win the lottery, and for one reason or another, they decide to take off.
The most surprising aspect here is that more than one runaway lotto winner story exists. Here are some of the most outrageous, shocking, and incredible instances of people uprooting their entire life after becoming richer through a game of luck.
Win and Get Away from Your Significant Other
Winning the lottery means you’d be sharing the price with your significant other, right? That’s what most lotto winners would do. Well, Desmond Congdon was of another opinion.
Back in 2004, Desmond and his partner Maureen Todd made headlines after winning the lottery in the UK. The couple came to the agreement that they were the joint owners of the ticket that made them three million pounds richer.
Unfortunately, winning the lottery was not the start of a fairytale for Desmond and Maureen.
Desmond decided to run away from Maureen only 15 months after winning the lottery. While the two had agreed on what to do after winning, Desmond claimed most of the millions and went on an international gambling spree.
At least this is what Maureen told the court when she decided to take her partner to justice.
The court decision on the case was finalized in 2007 when the couple finally chose to settle. At the time, Maureen was 55, and Desmond was 53.
According to Maureen, Desmond took away 2.96 million pounds from the winnings. The couple, however, decided to refrain from providing the public with information about the terms of the settlement. We do believe, however, that Maureen ended up with a large chunk of the money that she was entitled to right from the start. You go, girl!
Another Husband on the Run
We seem to be coming up with a trend here when it comes to lottery winners who decide to abandon all of their family obligations and run.
Here’s the story of another man who decided to tell his wife bye-bye after winning the lottery.
A pair from Thailand received life-changing news some time ago – they’d won six million Thai baht (over 198,500 dollars).
Wijak Wannaprasit and his wife Pornthida Chamnawet decided to do what any young couple would – spend the money together. The next day, however, the couple argued over the money. That prompted Wijak to walk out of their home and take the winning ticket with him.
Fearing that her husband would spend all of the money, the distraught wife quickly filed a police complaint. If found guilty of misappropriating the winnings, Wijak was facing a prison sentence of several years. The media promptly caught up with the story and started publishing reports about the unusual incident.
These reports or the fear of going to prison prompted Wijak to come back to his wife. He said that he never intended to cash out the prize on his own. According to reports, the couple is still together. Reports don’t say, however, if they’re happy and whether they’ve gotten to spend the money in a meaningful manner.
An Ex-Partner and a Thief
Continuing the theme of runaway partner, we have one more story for you.
In June 2019, a woman from North Carolina announced to the world she was suing her ex-girlfriend, who ran away with a winning lottery ticket. The ticket was worth 500,000 dollars.
Jasmine Watkins said that she was the one who bought the Lucky for Life ticket, which made her the lotto winner. The ticket promised 25,000 dollars per year for the rest of Jasmine’s life or a cash prize of 500,000 dollars. Happy but still uncertain about what to do, Jasmine gave the ticket to her girlfriend for safekeeping.
Instead of doing the right thing, the girlfriend decided to break it off and run away. She did claim the prize, and after that, the now ex-girlfriend disappeared.
Jasmine did what any rational human being would do – she took things to court.
The lottery claim is now under review, and the North Carolina Education Lottery is doing its best to investigate the situation in an impartial way. We hope that justice will prevail.
Take It All from the Syndicate and Run
It’s not just romantic partners who run into serious issues after becoming lotto winners.
Friends and coworkers who join syndicates together also often end up going through incredible occurrences born out of human greed.
In 2015, a former courier took a 16.6 million dollar Australian Powerball prize that was alleged to be distributed among members of a coworker syndicate. He bought a luxury home and many other beautiful things before eventually going into hiding.
Gary Baron belonged to a lottery syndicate with colleagues at Toll Group. They played every week, but things got messy in October 2015.
At that time, the Powerball jackpot had reached a pretty impressive amount. Nobody suspected anything when Gary called in sick after the drawing. Very soon after, however, Gary went on to quit his job.
The 49-year-old moved out of his home and bought a luxury property only a month later. He also acquired expensive cars and other VIP necessities.
At the time, syndicate members were already suspicious. Gary claimed that he’d won the lottery prize with a separate ticket that he bought on his own. You know where this story is going – the group ended up in court.
The story came to an end in 2017. While Gary did insist he had bought the winning ticket on his own, eventually, he agreed to share the price with syndicate members.
The syndicate had a strong enough case for Gary to agree to settle out of court. The amount of the settlement remains unknown.
The Shady Waitress
Here’s one final story, and it once again involves a co-worker being a complete you-know-what after playing together with others.
In 2017, a waitress played a dirty trick on her colleagues after going entirely off the radar alongside a winning lottery ticket.
Mandy Vanhouten and Leslie Underwood had been buying scratch-off tickets together for some time. The two waitresses from Arkansas had agreed upon sharing anything that they managed to win together.
One day, Mandy scratched off yet another ticket that proved to hold a 300,000-dollar prize. Instead of sharing the prize with her friend of over a decade, however, Mandy disappeared. Eventually, her face was plastered all over the internet after she went to the lottery headquarters and claimed the entire prize by herself.
Leslie said that she’d been the one who helped Mandy get the job and had been by her side through thick and thin. She was disappointed and saddened by the entire lottery fiasco.
Do you know what happened next? That’s right, Leslie took Mandy to court. A settlement was reached in 2018.
Leslie sued Mandy for half of the prize, but the sum of the settlement has not been disclosed. Chances are, however, that both women lost due to the court battle. Had the prize been split between them, the thing would have gone smoother for everyone involved.