There is a running problem with lottery winners: they tend to blow through all of their money and end up destitute. Often, what should be a happy ending turns into a tragedy. But for one lottery winner, tragedy doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Mavis Wanczyk just won one of the largest lotteries in American history. Wednesday, she entered the Powerball drawing, and on Thursday, it was announced that she had won $758.7 million. It was a stroke of extreme luck for her — the odds of winning were roughly one in 292 million. And Wanczyk could use a bit of good luck.
10 months before her big win, her ex-husband was killed in a freak hit-and-run accident. In November of 2016, William Wanczyk was sitting in a bus shelter when the driver of a pickup truck lost control of his vehicle and struck the shelter. He was just 55. The two had divorced in 2012.
William had worked as a firefighter for Northampton in Massachusetts for three years in the 1980s before an injury forced him to retire early, making him the youngest city employee in recent history to retire with a disability pension.
Mavis, meanwhile, had worked as a nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Amhert for 32 years. After winning the Powerball, she announced that she had quit her job, and would be taking early retirement. “The first thing I want to do is just sit back and relax,” she said in an interview with the Boston Globe. “I want to just be me and be alone and … figure out what I want to do.”
People who win the lottery have a choice between receiving payments for the rest of their life, or receiving a lump sum, which is considerably less than the amount of their winnings. Wanczyk chose the lump sum, and will receive about $480 million, or roughly $336 million after taxes. There have been other lottery jackpots, but those were split among multiple winners. That makes Wanczyk the winner of the largest single lottery jackpot in United States history.
The winning ticket contained the numbers 6, 7, 16, 23, 26, and Powerball number 4. A co-worker informed her that she had won. “I couldn’t drive anywhere. I couldn’t do anything,” she said. Her co-worker had to follow her home to make sure that she was all right. “I’m going to just hide in my bed,” she said of her planned celebration.
Bob Bolduc, as owner of the store who sold the winning ticket, will receive a $50,000 commission. He says he plans to donate that money to a local charity that focuses on education for children.
HERE are 9 Lottery Winners Whose Lives Became TRAGIC After Winning, lesson: don’t play the lottery!
#9 Evelyn Adams
It takes a special Monkey’s Paw to have this lady’s luck. Evelyn Adams Won two different lotteries adding up to 5.4 million dollars by 1986. The only problem with this is that she couldn’t stop the habit. So instead of going to Hawaii and buying houses, she gave a lot to family and spent her share on gambling until she was poorer and the casino was happy. She is now living in a trailer park with nothing to show except the clothes on her back.
#8 William Post III
Despite the fancy name, William had only a few bucks to that name and a ring he intended to pawn. He used said ring to acquire 40 lotto tickets and won 16.2 million dollars. He was then sued by his landlord/girlfriend who claimed that since she went out and got the tickets, she deserved a third of the money. After three years of fighting, her case won but William still refused to payout and instead was taken to prison. His brother also tried to kill him and take the money once he was dead but was caught before William was killed. by the end of this whole ordeal, William was 1 million in debt and was living off welfare. He also stated that it was the worst decision of his life.
#7 Victoria Zell
Victoria didn’t even win the lottery. Instead, she convinced her soon to be divorced husband that she deserved half. This did not turn out good for her though because she liked life in the fast lane. By the end of the drinking, meth, and coke, she got into a car crash costing the life of someone and the other to be paralyzed. She is now serving 7 and a half years in prison plus all her money and some more.
#6 Michael Carroll
This 21-year-old teen worked as a waste collector until he won the national British lottery in 2002 earning him almost 10 million euros. He planned on saving the money and only spending it on his family and a house by the lake. He was found 2 years later driving a car without L-plates, or a beginner’s license plate, and then one year later catapulting iron balls into cars and windows making 49,000 euros worth of damage. One year later he was in jail for a nine-month period and refused to admit that he was broke. Along the way, his family had many threats and their six Rottweilers were killed in the night followed by threats on his family. During this event, he paid a lump sum of 130,000 euros to keep his family safe. in the end, he succumbed to drugs and sex and lost all his money.
#5 Urooj Khan
Urooj was a small business owner who moved to the US in 1989 from India to become the proud owner of a dry-cleaning business in Chicago. He won 1 million dollars but didn’t even get to enjoy the money. He was killed by cyanide a few nights later while eating dinner with his family. no-one has been charged with his death and the police aren’t really considering it.
#4 Billie Bob Harrell
After winning 31 million dollars, life seemed up for Billie. He had been struggling with debt and was living with a family of three. He went on vacation and gave out a ton of donations to his family and his local church. He bought a ranch and conserved money only giving money to people who asked and that eventually had to stop since so many people started to ask. Eventually, because he stopped giving money, he fell into depression and his wife divorced him. he then tried to get 2.25 million instantly by turning over 12.5 million over time since funds were tight. He tried to get back with his wife but got shot down and committed suicide before dinner with her.
#3 Jeffrey Dampier
Jeffrey Dampier was the winner of 20 Million dollars in 1996. His wife divorced him and split the money 50/50 but he then married Crystal Jackson two years later. He moved to Tampa Bay where he bought a Gourmet Popcorn Business. Life was up until he met Crystals sister, Victoria, who he was then having an affair with. He was later killed by Victoria and her boyfriend Nathaniel Jackson who lured Jeff into Nathaniel’s apartment where they tied him up and killed him.
#2 Abraham Shakespeare
Abraham Shakespeare was a 40-year-old worker who really struck big with 30 million dollars in a Florida jackpot but only received 17 million because he chose the lump sum. He spent barely anything except about 1 million dollars on personal items but his family and friends asked for more and more. This tore him up inside because he thought these people loved him but all they wanted now is his money. He went missing and was eventually found in the backyard of one of his homes under nine feet of dirt. it was later discovered to be one of his friends, Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore, who had also stolen 1 million dollars from him through creating a company and then taking all the money out.
#1 John Whittaker
John Whittaker, the owner of Diversified Enterprises Construction, had a net worth of about 17 million before he won the lottery. But then the tragedy started at a deli where he got the ticket. John, like any good citizen, took it upon himself to first use his jackpot of $113,386,407 to help local causes; he donated 10% or around 13.4 million dollars to Christian Charities, started the Whittaker Foundation a non-profit organization, and gave $123,000 to the owner of the deli he got the ticket from. Everything looked up for John but then again, you must pay for a deal with the devil. Money was stolen from him twice netting a total amount of $700,000 and the owner and worker of a local strip club planned on drugging him and taking money. Then, both his granddaughter Brandii Bragg and her boyfriend OD’d at separate times, John’s house burned down, and his wife killed herself. He stated that winning the lottery was the worst thing that happened to him.