Remarkable Lottery Winners: Rags to Riches for Many

jack-whitticker_260_1For some of the remarkable lottery winners around the world, it was a rags to riches story, at least to some extent.

This would undoubtedly be the case for most of us because even if you weren't literally in rags when you were lucky enough to win a fantastic lottery jackpot prize, going from an average income to wealth beyond your wildest dreams would be quite a difference!

How does winning a big lottery jackpot affect the players? Let's take a look at some of the past remarkable lottery winners:

Jack Whittaker: Andrew Jackson “Jack” Whittaker is the West Virginia businessman who made the headlines back in 2002 for winning a whopping $314.9 million Powerball jackpot. Although Whittaker wasn't, strictly speaking, in rags since he was president of a successful contracting business with a net worth of $17 million when he purchased his winning Powerball ticket for the Christmas Day drawing; that $314.9 million made his existing money seem like chicken feed. Whittaker tipped the woman in the convenience store who sold him the ticket by giving her a $123,000 house, a new Dodge Ram truck and $50,000! He also generously donated 10% of his winnings to charity, but unfortunately his story went downhill from there. Jack Whittaker has been robbed to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars several times and has been sued more than once since his big win. Caesars Atlantic City, for instance, is suing him for bouncing $1.5 million in bad checks. Both his daughter and his granddaughter have died from drug overdoses---his granddaughter in 2004 and his daughter in 2009. It seems that for this remarkable lottery winner, money hasn't bought him happiness.

Curtis Sharp: Once the most famous lottery winner in the United States, Curtis Sharp's story is more of a rags to riches affair than the previous remarkable lottery winner. In 1982, Sharp won $5.2 million in the New York State Lottery and became an instant celebrity. He starred in TV commercials and rubbed elbows with famous celebrities such as Lily Tomlin, Larry Holmes and Andy Warhol. But the money trickled away and in 2009 a 71 year old Sharp told the New York Daily News that he was living off his pension in Antioch, Tennessee. After beating 609 million-to-one odds to become one of the all-time remarkable lottery winners, Curtis Sharp ended up living modestly. Sharp told the New York Daily News that most of his money went on bad investments.

Michael_Carroll_lottery_winner_260_1Michael Carroll: Born in the U.K. in 1983, Michael Carroll became one of England's remarkable lottery winners at the age of 19, when he won £9.7 million on the National Lottery in November 2002. Carroll, a former binman, lived the high life on his lottery winnings, spending his fortune on Mercedes vans, illegal drugs, prostitutes and gambling. Within a few short years, he was broke and living on £42 a week in jobseeker's allowance. Carroll's biography, written by Sean Boru and published in 2006, is entitled “Careful What You Wish For.” Carroll has expressed no regrets, but in 2011 he attempted suicide, so it may be that he isn't as unconcerned about frittering away his fortune as he lets on.

Christine_and_Colin_Weir_260_1Christine and Colin Weir: In July of 2011, these remarkable lottery winners from Largs in Scotland won the biggest Euromillions jackpot in its history to date. The couple had been married for 30 years at the time of their big win and said that they were not at all scared of being fabulously rich and planned to have a lot of fun with the money. However, in spite of the Weir's declaration of an intent to have fun with their lottery jackpot, they stated that they had no plans to become part of the jet set or rub elbows with the rich and famous. Travel to Australia and China, replace their slightly elderly Suzuki vehicles, and buy homes and vehicles for their children was what they told the media they planned to do with some of the money. Colin Weir is a retired television cameraman and his wife is a retired psychiatric nurse. So, while one cannot say that theirs is a rags to riches story, their lottery jackpot winnings definitely put them into a whole new tax bracket!

Some remarkable lottery winners invest their money wisely and others don't. It would be hard to speculate how you might act if you became one of the world's remarkable lottery winners....but we would probably all like to get a chance to find out.