The New York Daily News reports:
It's more likely you’ll get struck by lightning than win the Powerball — but if you do win, there is an even better chance that you'll go broke.
Nearly 70% of lottery winners end up broke within seven years. Even worse, several winners have died tragically or witnessed those close to them suffer.
Edward Ugel, author of the book “Money for Nothing: One Man's Journey Through the Dark Side of Lottery Millions,” told the Daily Beast of the thousands of lottery winners he's known, few were happy and only a small number lived happily ever after.
"You would be blown away to see how many winners wish they'd never won," Ugel said.
Here are a few of those stories:
Abraham Shakespeare: Murdered by a newfound friend
Shakespeare hit it big for $30 million in 2006, causing friends and family to hound him for money. He befriended Dorice (Dee Dee) Moore who tricked Shakespeare into believing she was trying to protect him from the greedy people around him.
Moore convinced the lottery winner to transfer his assets to her before he went missing in 2009. In 2012, she was sentenced to mandatory life without parole for his murder by a judge who called her “cold, calculating and cruel.”
David Lee Edwards: Lived in human feces before his death
Edwards — a former drug addict and felon — won a $27 million jackpot in 2001 while unemployed in South Florida.
He quickly blew through the money by purchasing a $1.6 million house in Palm Beach Gardens, three racehorses, a fiber optics company, a Lear Jet, a limo business, a $200,000 Lamborghini Diablo and a multitude of other luxuries.
Edwards and his wife returned to drug use and had numerous run-ins with police for possession of crack cocaine, pills and heroin.
He lost of all his money in just a few years and ended up living in a storage unit surrounded by human feces.
Jeffrey Dampier: Shot to death by his in-law
Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in the Illinois lottery before his own family turned against him. The millionaire showered his family with cash and gifts, but that just wasn't enough for his sister-in-law, Victoria Jackson.
Dampier was kidnapped and shot in the back of his head by Jackson and her boyfriend around seven years after winning the jackpot. The couple was charged in his murder and are each serving a life sentence in prison.
Billie (Bob) Harrell Jr.: Shot himself in the head
In less than two years, Bob Harrell lost all of his $31 million winnings.
He donated his money to those in need and lended some of his cash to those close to him, but his generosity proved to work against him.
Being broke led to a split from his wife and the Texas man was found dead in his home with a gunshot wound to his head.
Before committing suicide, he said, “winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
These tragic stories read like something out of a horror movie, rather than a list of people who have experienced a huge windfall.
Have you ever thought that if you just had a little more your life would be more complete? If only you had just a little more money, or fame, or success? It’s hard to see the downside to more success, but it’s there … hidden in the human heart. Jealousy, greed, betrayal and even murder have been the experiences of many who thought all of their troubles were finally behind them.
But the subtle dangers of too much success aren’t limited to how others might respond. Human nature doesn’t typically do well with too much privilege or too much temptation. Money combines these two forces into a potent cocktail. Priorities become skewed while pride and ego overcome good judgment.
While worldly success promises to solve all of our worries, the reality is that it is just as likely to give us far worse things to worry about. This is why the Bible offers us this solemn warning:
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Timothy 6:10).