March 8, 2022

Five Weird Cases of Lottery Winners

Ethan Lim
Written byEthan LimWriter

Since lotteries became the in thing, the winners are uncountable. Mega Millions, EuroMillions, Powerball, and the rest have brought into the limelight once-unknown persons. But then, this lot has all kinds of characters. There are many success stories for lotto winners and also weird ones. This article shares five weird stories of lottery winners.

Five Weird Cases of Lottery Winners

Gerald Muswagon

One of the weirdest lotto stories is of Gerald Muswagon, a $10 million lottery winner in a 1998 draw. When the Winnipeg family man scooped the prize, he went on a shopping spree buying his family and friends posh cars and investing in a palatial house that was in party mode 24/7. He was also involved in several incidences with the law, from DUI to sexual assault. Eventually, he went broke and started doing menial jobs for survival before he later took his own life. Seven years after hitting the lottery, Muswagon was gone.

Urooj Khan

Another tragic ending was of Urooj Khan, who was killed for his fortune, but the actual cause of his death came out years later. Khan was a successful businessman in the dry-cleaning business when he struck the $1 million Illinois Lottery in a 2012 draw. 

He decided to go for a $424,500 lump sum instead of an annuity. Little did he know the money would lead to his murder. Sadly, Khan died in less than a month after winning the lottery. Intriguingly, he died just the day after his check was mailed. What was ruled as a natural death was later found to be cyanide poisoning.

Jack Whittaker

A lottery jackpot should not be the source of problems but not for Jack Whittaker, a $314.9 million Powerball winner. By the time he was striking the jackpot, Whittaker was worth around $17 million and was living quite a good life as the president of a top-performing contracting firm. But when he cashed in his lotto win, all hell broke loose. 

Whittaker is quoted saying that there wasn't control for greed since he won the lottery. He splashed in money and wasted it in strip clubs. He became a heavy drinker and often got into fights and issues with the law. At the time of his death in 2020, it was reported that Whittaker was broke.

Billie Bob Harrell Jr.

Home Depot worker Billie Bob Harrell Jr. had seen lotto ads on TV, billboards, lotto sites, and even newspapers and became a regular. When he hit a $31 million jackpot meant he wasn't going to continue stocking up shelves. He instead embarked on an exorbitant life, dishing out money to friends and family, churches, and charities. 

Harrell didn't realize that his money was what everyone wanted. In the first year, things started going haywire when he learned he no longer had money. His marriage started to dwindle, and finally, he had to do menial jobs to make ends meet. Finally, out of frustration, Harrell shot himself less than two years after he had won the lottery.

Abraham Shakespeare

The life of casual laborer Abraham Shakespeare changed when he won the Florida Lotto cashing in 17 million of the 31 million jackpot. Trouble started when his co-worker, whom he had bought the tickets with, sued him. Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of his troubles. 

He started splashing out money carelessly and just months after his lottery win, his only remaining property was a $1 million home and a few cars. In 2009, he was declared lost, only to be found dead the following year. An acquaintance, Dorice Moore, was convicted of his murder and sentenced to life. What was her motive? Shakespeare's money, which she had embezzled.

The above are some of the weirdest stories of lottery winners. Another weird but funny story is of Spanish reporter Natalia Escudero. She was so excited to have a wining ticket that she quit her job on live TV only to realize she had only won $5,500.

About the author
Ethan Lim
Ethan Lim

Ethan Lim, a native of the Lion City, is Singapore’s rising star in the domain of online casino guide localization. He masterfully blends his intimate knowledge of local culture with international gaming standards to produce content that resonates deeply with Singaporeans.

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