‘I wish I’d tore that card up’

Lottery players in 45 states, Washington, DC and the Virgin Islands hope to hit Friday’s $1.1 billion Mega Millions jackpotbut more money has led to more problems for these 10 lottery jackpot winners.

Andrew “Jack” Whittaker Jr. became an instant celebrity after winning a record $315 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas night in 2002, and even flew in a private jet with his family to appear on New York City morning television shows after hitting the jackpot.

Whittaker’s life soon took a tumultuous turn when he began to struggle with drinking and gambling, his wife left him, several family members died tragically, and he was charged twice with drink-driving and also assault by three female casino employees.

Whittaker, who was already a wealthy businessman when he won the lottery, was also robbed multiple times, with thieves stealing more than $100,000 from him on several occasions, and he was believed to be broke in the years leading up to his death in 2020.


Andrew Jackson, ook bekend als Jack Whittaker, zwaait als hij in zijn gehuurde limousine stapt op Sixth Ave. en 48th St. tijdens een bezoek aan New York City na het winnen van de Powerball-jackpot van $ 314,9 miljoen op eerste kerstdag in 2002. <span class="auteursrechten">Michael Appleton/NY Daily News via Getty Images</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/VzJrPcaYif.LUVH0Wucohw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQ3OQ–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res 1.2/25Y4uJpHLvDj0oL4pdcckw–~B/aD04NzA7dz0xMjgwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/https://media.zenfs.com/en/fox_news_text_979/d8fca07b8381c42″bb782ec9><noscript><img alt=Michael Appleton/NY Daily News via Getty Images” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/VzJrPcaYif.LUVH0Wucohw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQ3OQ–/https://s.yimg.com/uu1.2/api/res/ 25Y4uJpHLvDj0oL4pdcckw–~B/aD04NzA7dz0xMjgwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/https://media.zenfs.com/en/fox_news_text_979/d8fca07b8381c42bb782ec9becgb=”>

Andrew Jackson, aka Jack Whittaker, waves as he gets into his rented limousine on Sixth Ave. and 48th St. while visiting New York City after winning the $314.9 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas Day in 2002. Michael Appleton/NY Daily News via Getty Images

“I wish I’d tore that card up,” Whittaker sobbed told reporters after the death of his daughter.

David Lee Edwards, a convicted felon from Kentucky, won a… Share of $27 million from a record jackpot of $280 million in 2001 and soon began a spree with a mansion, dozens of luxury cars and a private jet with a personal pilot.

Five years later, the money ran out and Edwards lived with his wife in a storage room infested with human feces. Edwards’ wife eventually left him and he died in a hospice in 2013 at the age of 58.

Michael Todd Hill, 52, won $10 million in 2007 on an Ultimate Millions scratch card at a North Carolina grocery store. In 2020, 13 years later, Hill was charged with murder and told the court that he was needy and unable to pay for a lawyer. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 23-year-old Keonna Graham.

Urooj Khan owned a successful small business in Chicago when he won big in June 2012 with a $1 million scratch prize. A month later, Khan died of cyanide poisoning. The case was investigated as murder, but no one was ever charged and Khan’s profits were split between his widow and his daughter.

Abraham Shakespeare, a Florida man, was illiterate and regularly unemployed when he won a $17 million jackpot in 2006. By 2009, Shakespeare had wasted most of his money and was convinced by a friend to transfer her a $1.3 million ownership stake in his house.


That same friend, Dorice Moore, shot Shakespeare in his own backyard shortly after and was convicted of murder in 2012, which earned her a life sentence.

Mack W. Metcalf and his estranged wife Virginia G. Merida shared a $34 million jackpot in 2000 and quickly got down to spending the fortune on drugs, a mansion, and exotic pets. Three years later, the couple was dead after Metcalf died of complications of alcoholism and Merida of a suspected drug overdose.

“Had he not won, he would have been working like ordinary people and might have 20 years to go,” said Marilyn Collins, Metcalf’s first wife. The New York Times in 2005. “But if you put that kind of money in the hands of someone in trouble, it helps them commit suicide.”

Janite Lee, a South Korean immigrant, was working in a wig shop in Illinois when she… $18 million jackpot in 1993.

Lee’s bank account quickly drained after she donated large sums of money to educational, political and social causes.


Eight years later, Lee had filed for bankruptcy and had less than $700 in her bank account while facing $2.5 million in debt.

Alex and Rhoda Toth had $24 to their name in May 1990 when they cashed a $13 million jackpot in the Florida Lotto. The couple took their money in payments in the ominous amount of $666,666 until 2010.

Over the next few years, the Toths went through several family feuds and were accused of archiving fraudulent income tax returns by the IRS, ultimately leading to bankruptcy filings in 2001 and 2002.

Rhoda Toth said the money “teared us apart” and caused the loss of friends and relatives.

“Sometimes I wish we could give it back,” she said.

Alex Toth died broke and… facing federal cost in 2008 at age 60.

Evelyn Adams lottery made history when she won two multimillion-dollar awards in New Jersey in the mid-1980s for a total of $5.4 million. In the years that followed, Adams began to gamble, give gifts to relatives, and lose money through failed investments.

By 2012, Adams had spent all of her winnings and was living in a trailer.


“Winning the lottery isn’t always what it is,” Adams said.

William “Bud” Post was broke in 1988 when he won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery and began issuing houses, boats and a plane for which he did not have a permit to fly.

A year later, Post was not only bankrupt again, but $1 million in debt. In addition, Post’s brother was arrested for hiring a hit man to kill him.

Post eventually had to file for bankruptcy, spent time in prison for firing a gun at an account collector, and was tricked by his landlady into cashing in more than a third of his money.

“Everyone dreams of winning money, but no one realizes the nightmares that come from the woodwork, or the problems,” Post told The Washington Post in 1993.

Post was living off his disability benefits when he died in 2006 at age 66, leaving behind his seventh wife and nine children.

Americans have a 1 in 302,575,350 chance of winning the billion dollar Mega Millions prize, but should be careful with the fact that almost 70% of lottery jackpot winners, their winnings have been used up within seven years, although the vast majority have not yet won a pot as large as Friday night’s, the third largest in history.

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