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As the Powerball jackpot prize grows to a U.S. record of $700 million, it’s important to remember that all that glitters is not gold.

Want to know more about the problems instant money brings? Just ask Marie Holmes, who came under fire for bailing out her boyfriend repeatedly after winning a $188 million Powerball last February.

And while it seems Holmes — who, by the way, can do what she pleases with her winnings —  has not lost it all, there are others who have.

Before you buy that next ticket, read these six cautionary tales about lottery winners who lost everything:

Jeffrey Dampier

In 1996, Jeffrey Dampier and his ex-wife won $20 million in the Illinois lottery. He invested in a gourmet popcorn store called Kassie’s, but family greed and jealousy caught up with him seven years later.

According to Complex, his sister-in-law and her boyfriend shot Dampier in the back of the head with a shotgun, and left him in the back of a van with plans to take the rest of his winnings. They were convicted of murder, and currently serving life sentences.


Janite Lee

In 1993, Lee won $18 million in the Illinois lottery. The South Korean immigrant, who was working at a wig shop, saw her life transformed. Complex reports that she moved her family into a million-dollar gated community in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent money on cars, horses, and clothes. She also turned to philanthropy, eventually earning a place at fundraising dinners with then-President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. “Before the decade was out, Lee found herself in bankruptcy. The 60-year-old had a mere $700 to her name by 2001,” writes the site.

Americo Lopes

Lopes, a construction worker, thought it was going to be smooth sailing after winning $38.5 million in the New Jersey lottery in 2009. Instead of splitting winnings with five co-workers, he quit his job, saying he needed foot surgery. “After coming clean to an ex-colleague, he and a few others ganged up on Lopes for not splitting the winnings as promised. The court ordered Lopes to split the prize,” according to Business Insider.

William Bud Post III

In 1988, Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery after pawning a ring for $40 and buying 40 tickets. Instead of the good life, the money only brought him heartache and despair.

Businesses he started with siblings failed. His sixth wife moved out, his brother was convicted of trying to kill him, and his sometime girlfriend successfully sued for a third of his winnings,” writes the Los Angeles Times. “He was convicted of assault for firing a shotgun over the head of a bill collector.”

Before he died of respiratory failure in 2006 at the age of 66, he called his $16.7 million jackpot “the lottery of death.”

Abraham Shakespeare

In 2006, Shakespeare won $30 million in the Florida lottery. Two years later, he was befriended by Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore, who said she was writing a book about him. By 2009, she convinced him to transfer all of his remaining assets to her. That year, he went missing for several months before she was charged with his murder, according to the Daily Mail. She was convicted of first-degree murder in 2012 and is serving a life sentence.


Sharon Tirabassi

In 2004, Sharon Tirabassi, a single mother on welfare, hit the jackpot in the Canadian Lotto Super 7, winning $10.5 million. As NewsOne reported in 2013, she used the money to buy a “big house, fancy cars, designer wardrobe. She also took exotic trips, threw fancy parties and gave friends and family handouts and loans, which weren’t paid back in most cases.”

As a result, she lost it all. Three years ago, she had to catch a bus to a part-time job and lived in a rental property that she struggled to maintain.

Good thing is, she set aside trusts for her six children and the money will become available when they turn 26.

Still want to buy that ticket to hit the $700 million jackpot? Sound off in the comments.

SOURCE: Complex, Business Insider, Los Angeles Times, Daily Mail | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty


Marie Holmes, $188 Million Powerball Winner, Bails Boyfriend Out Of Jail For Fourth Time

$700 Million Powerball Jackpot Fever: 6 Cautionary Tales About Lottery Winners Who Lost It All  was originally published on