You don't want to win the $26m Lotto jackpot - here's why

What could possibly go wrong? Callie Rogers in 2002.

UPDATE: The jackpot was won by a single ticket, sold in Te Kauwhata (pop. 13,000, approximately), Waikato. The 34-year old man who won the money will go public in an interview on Campbell Live tonight (Monday) on TV3. 

The man, identified only as "Trevor", said he planned to keep his job as a supermarket operator.


Lotto Powerball has jackpotted to $25 million. What could possibly go wrong if you win it?

Everything, it seems.

In response to a $US640 million jackpot in the US, The Atlantic compiled a surprising long list of sorry tales of previous big lottery winners. NBR has trawled through The Atlantic's list, plus similar efforts by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the UK's Daily Telegraph, to find some of the biggest losers in the history of winning. 

They include:

Winner: Michael Carrol
Winnings: £9.7million
Year: 2002
What went wrong: 26-year-old unemployed UK man blew fortune on drugs (including £2000 of crack cocaine per day at one point), gambling and "thousands of prostitutes." Wife left, taking child.
Where he is now?: Back on the dole, taking home £42 per week.

Winner: Billie Bob Harrell Jr
Winnings: $31 million
Year: 1997
What went wrong: Texas lottery winner's spending and lending to friends, and fellow members of his church, got out of control. Strained then ruined his marriage.
Where is now?: Committed suicide 20 months after winning.

Winner: Abraham Shakespeare
Winnings: $31 million
Year: 2006
What went wrong: According to a Cleveland Plain Dealer report in 2010,  "A woman who had befriended him - and fleeced him for $1.8 million, say police - has been charged in connection with his murder."
Where is now?: Found buried under a concrete slab.

Winner: Callie Rogers
Winnings: £1.9million
Year: 2002
What went wrong: Ms Rogers - 18 at the time of her win - spent the money on cocaine, breast implants, cars, gifts and holidays.
Where she now?: Broke, working as a maid. Attempted suicide twice.

Winner: Ibi Roncaioli
Winnings: $C5 million
Year: 1993
What went wrong: Turned $C5 million Canadian lottery winnings into $C1 million debt, in part by giving away money to children - including a son from a previous relationship, unknown to her husband. Reportedly an alcoholic and slot machine junkie.
Where she now?: Dead. Her husband, a doctor, was convicted with manslaughter after injecting her with painkillers.

Winner: Keith Gough
Winnings: £9 million
Year: 2005
What went wrong:   Former baker Gough saw his 27-year marriage break up, and his money disappear, as he took to heavy drinking and an unfortunate habit of writing large cheques for dodgy business ventures. Conned out of his last £700,000 by a fraudster while in rehab.
Where he now?: Died of a heart attack in 2010, aged 58.

Winner: Janite Lee
Winnings: $US18 million
Year: 1993
What went wrong: Lost money on bad investments, gambling and donations to political candidates.
Where she now?: Filed for Chapter 7 backruptcy in 2001 with $700 in the bank.

Winner: Bud Post
Winnings: $US16.2 million
Year: 1988
What went wrong: Former circus cook made bad investments, got taken to the cleaners in divorce from his sixth wife, brother-in-law hired hit man who tried to kill him.
Where he now?: Died of respiratory failure in 2006. At the time, he was living on $US450 a month and food stamps.

And then there are the winners who live happily ever after.

Esquire found one - Guadalupe Lopez, who collected $US2.4 million playing slot machines in Atlantic City.

To the best of NBR's knowledge, the winner is still enjoying the high life. As well, she might, being the mother of Jennifer Lopez.

The winnings were added to a Lopez family fortune in the region of $US110 million.

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16 Comments & Questions

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I'll risk winning I think!


At least you enjoy the ecstasy of winnings....


Remember the doco series on Lotto winners a couple of years back that started with a bogan who won about $250K on Lotto then blew it on partying, a Ford Falcon, drugs etc

Toward the end he bought a lawn mowing round, but couldn't cope. Was trying to mow lawns while on LSD. #winning


well if you do I will take it off your hands to save you the problems


moral of the story, don't tell anyone & don't spend it.


i'd be happy to risk it


"£2000 of crack cocaine per day" - sounds like the opposite of a downer to me?


Money will really destroy your life if you don’t spend it in a good way. We can say one day millionaire for that situation. <a href="">PMP Baltimore Maryland</a>


note to self:

Dumb people and lotto tickets do not mix!

note 2 to self:

When someone tells you, you are just an immature, young, stupid girl who needs to grow up. Perhaps they are right.....


I would buy myself a new stable, and invest the rest in oat stocks.


"A fool and his money are soon parted."

As the old saying goes. Money stays in hands that can take care of it, this is a cornerstone of capitalism. It is also something that socialists in their infinite ideological blindness will never see.

You could give all the money in the world to the "poor" people and a proportion of them will soon end up poor a gain. Another section of the population you could start with nothing every time and they end up "rich".

Only socialists govt's try to fight such powerful forces of human nature with ill-conceived wealth redistribution, and we are all the worse for it. Call the it "the lottery of socialism" ruining tousands of lives at the local WINZ office and the ACC lawyers feed trough.


There needs to be a $2 million max per winner and at least good times will be shared more responsibly between more people.


Lottos should have a reasonable cap at which point it becomes 'must be won' to avoid social ills of any kind that comes with too much money.


being rich does not make a person smart. I think these people were going to screw up no matter what.


being rich does not make a person smart. I think these people were going to screw up no matter what.


This is telling me not to be an idiot, not to demonize the lotto


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