Hitting the jackpot is every person’s dream. Imagine the things you can do and the things you can buy with all the money. Though Jessie J once sang that “it’s not about the money”, deep in your heart, you know that money can help buy you happiness and improve your life.
Which is why, despite all the odds against winning the jackpot, many will still line up and bet their luckiest numbers for a chance to win millions of dollars. After all, even if mathematicians calculate that the odds of winning can be as low as one in 171 million, you know that someone is bound to win sooner or later. So why can’t you be that one?
If you are really feeling lucky, try to bet on Spain’s Christmas lottery. Called the Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad, its jackpot prize last year reached $941.8 million. That’s just a few million short of being included in the Forbes’ list of billionaires.
Of course, after hitting the jackpot, make sure that you are in the correct mind set in order to sustain yourself for the rest of your life, financially. Don’t do dumb things like what some winners have done through the years. Here is a list of the top 10 stupidest things people have done after hitting the jackpot.
10. Asking somebody else to claim the prize – Jose Antonio Cua-Toc, $750,000
Jose Antonio Cua-Toc is a Guatemalan native who had been staying illegally in the United States. He couldn’t believe his luck when he won a lottery in Georgia. He feared however that his undocumented status might prevent him from claiming his prize. So he asked his employer, Erick Cervantes, to get the money for him. Cervantes then took home the money, saying that it was his ticket and that Cua-Toc merely bought it for him. The two are now battling it out in court.
9. Putting the Ticket in the Trash Bin – Joseph and Joanne Zagami, $1 million
The Zagamis went out for groceries one summer day in Massachusetts and bought a lottery ticket from a vending machine. It only cost them $5 dollars and all they had to do was scratch off sections to see if they had the winning numbers. Instead, they placed the ticket in the bag, before Joanne inadvertently threw it into the trash bin after cleaning out her bag. It’s a good thing that Joseph remembered the ticket the following day, and it’s even better that they decided to dig it out of the trash. The couple ended up winning a million dollars, though they only got to take home $455,000 after taxes.
8. Forgetting about the Ticket – Ron Yurcus, $1 million
Ron Yurcus is a former chaplain of a hospice in Illinois. He and his wife are involved in a lot of charity work and the two are regular buyers of lottery tickets. Perhaps, it became too regular, so much so that they would sometimes buy a ticket, and then leave it lying on a desk. In November 2012, Ron decided to clean up his table and make space for a new computer he had just bought. There were a dozen tickets on the table, and he finally decided to check out the numbers. It turned out that he actually won a million dollars from a draw three months earlier.
7. Helping to Steal a Car – John Ross, Jr., $2 million
When John Ross, Jr. won the scratch off lottery in California in spring of 2012, he announced that one of the first things he would do was to buy his own car. He lamented the fact that he was already 29 years old and had never had his own vehicle. Fast forward to a mere three months later, and Ross was implicated in a case involving a stolen car. He was accused of helping hide and repair a vehicle stolen by Skila Ann Hickman.
6. Unnecessary Cosmetic Surgery – Callie Rogers, $3 million
She was only 16 years old when she won the lottery in England, and maybe it was a case of too much too soon. Callie Rogers immediately had breast implants, aside from buying several houses and getting addicted to drugs. She also went on luxury vacations, not minding the money to be spent. Just six years later, all her winnings were gone and she is back living with her mom. She has tried to kill herself twice already.
5. Drug Abuse – Willie Hurt, $3.1 million
In 1989, Willie Hurt won more than $3 million in a lottery in Michigan. It certainly helped turn his life around, bunot in a good way. Hurt’s wife filed for divorce a short while after. He got addicted to crack cocaine, wasting tons of money to support his addiction. By 1991, he was broke and was facing a myriad of court cases, including murder for killing a woman over cocaine.
4. Gamble the Money Away – Evelyn Adams, $5.4 million
One would think that Evelyn Adams possessed all the luck in the world. In the mid 80’s, she won the lottery in New Jersey not just once, but twice in succeeding years. Her total prize money amounted to $5.4 million. She pushed her luck a bit too far though, and lost a lot of money in Atlantic City. She also handed out money to anyone who asked for it. Adams now lives in a trailer with all of her money gone.
3. Holding Demolition Derbies in the Backyard – Michael Carroll, $15 million
Michael Carroll hit the jackpot in England in 2002, but he quickly gained a reputation and was even tagged as the “lotto lout” by the media. Sure, he bought houses and cars, but the problem was he used the cars to stage demolition derbies right in his own backyard. He also had a weakness for women and got addicted to drugs. He went to jail twice, eventually regretting the money he wasted on drugs, though he claimed no remorse for spending it on women.
2. Having your ticket stolen – Etta May Urquhart, $51 million
Etta May Urquhart had been playing the lottery for over 18 years in California. In 2011, her luck finally changed for the better when she hit the jackpot and won $51 million. Shocked by her amazing new found fortune, Urquhart was shaking the entire time when she was about to claim her prize. So she asked her son, Ronnie Orender, to sign the ticket and claim the jackpot for her. Orender, however, had other plans. He claimed the ticket as his own and was thereafter awarded the prize money. He also went on a buying spree of four houses and 10 cars. Urquhart has since sued her son for fraud and abuse.
1. Going to a Strip Club – Jack Whittaker, $315 million
Jack Whittaker is a contractor from West Virginia. In 2002, he won $315 million dollars in the Powerball lottery. Whittaker couldn’t control himself and gave in to his urges, visiting a strip club where $545,000 of his money got stolen.