Today is a bleak day for most Americans. You more than likely didn’t win the $1.5 billion Powerball that’s been driving the country berserk. Goodbye yacht. Goodbye Jaguar. Goodbye lifetime supply of mozzarella sticks. It was nice dreaming about you.
But real talk, bbs: You should be on the floor thanking Jesus/Madonna you didn’t win that Powerball. Historically, plebeians who get their hands on that much cash so quickly end up f–cking up their lives. Or dying.
Money and greed do weird things to people, and these real-life stories prove it. After you read, you’ll be way happier you aren’t getting that fat check right now.
Because if you won…
Someone might kill you.Giphy
A 47-year-old Florida man named Abraham Shakespeare faced the ultimate price after winning a $30 million fortune back in 2009. According to ABC News, Shakespeare gave away most of his fortune simply because people asked him. (How sad, we know.) He wanted to manage the small bit he had left, and that’s when DeeDee Moore came in. She befriended Shakespeare and agreed to help him with his finances. But things took a turn. In April 2009, she shot Shakespeare twice, buried him in a backyard and slabbed cement over his body. He wasn’t found until January 2010. Moore is currently serving a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole. And the cause for her outburst? Money…from the lottery.
Or rob you.Giphy
West Virginia’s Jack Whittaker won more than $314 million in a lottery in 2002, but don’t think things ended happily there. He’s been the victim of repeated burglaries since taking home the lump sum more than 10 years ago. In 2003, a strip club owner and his girlfriend drugged Whittaker and snatched $545,000 from his car. A year later, someone broke into his car again and took $100,000. And it gets worse: Three men broke into Whittaker’s house and stole valuables while an 18-year-old’s dead body laid inside. “I wish that we had torn the ticket up,” Whittaker said, ABC News reports. The most tragic part? He lost his daughter and granddaughter shortly after winning the lottery to drug overdoses. “My granddaughter is dead because of the money,” he said to ABC.
Or you’ll commit suicide.Giphy
A poor Texas man named Billie Bob Harrell, Jr. thought his struggles were over when he won $31 million in 1997. He ditched his gig at Home Depot, went on a tropical vacation with his family and donated tons of cash to charity. Soon, though, thirsty strangers started hitting him up for $$$, and a sketchy company scammed him and left him with much less than he won. That mixed with constantly shelling out money for friends and family–everyone got cars and houses–plus a separation from wife Barbara Jean led to the unthinkable. In May 1999, Harrell’s son found his dead body with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. “Winning the lottery is the worst thing that ever happened to me,” Harrell told his financial adviser before he died, according to TIME.com.
And if that doesn’t happen, how about a heart attack?Giphy
Keith Gordon from the United Kingdom hit a $14 million jackpot in 2005. “I thought the lotto win was going to be the answer to my dreams. Now those dreams have turned to dust,” Gordon said prior to his death in 2010. And how exactly did he die? A heart attack brought on by stress from the lottery win. He quit his job, bet on racehorses that failed to perform and–as a result–became an alcoholic. Throw in a con-man ripping him off for $1 million and a divorce from his wife of 25 years, and the recipe isn’t good. It’s lethal.
You probably won’t get all your cash.Giphy
People who win the lottery and decide to collect their earnings all at once are making a big mistake. If you choose a lump sum, you won’t actually win all your money. The New York Times reports if the winner of the $1.5 billion chooses to eat the big cake instead of little slivers over time, he or she will only receive $930 million. That’s the “lump sum.” Bulls–t, we know.
And then get kidnapped.Giphy
Talk about family love. Jeffrey Dampier spared no expense on his loved ones when he won $20 million in the Illinois lottery, but that didn’t satisfy his sister-in-law Victoria Jackson or her husband. Seven years after his big win, they kidnapped Dampier and shot him. Thankfully, they were caught and are currently rotting away in prison with life sentences. Greed, man.
Or–if none of that happens–you will lose it all.Giphy
Like William “Bud” Post III, who won $16.2 million in Pennsylvania and found himself broke one year after getting the cash. The culprit? Excessive spending. A restaurant! A car lot! An airplane–and he couldn’t even fly! “I wish it never happened. It was totally a nightmare,” Post said, according to New York Daily News. Oh! Did we fail to mention his own brother tried to kill him and he went to jail for firing a gun at a bill collector? Post died at 66. On food stamps.
All of this could’ve happened to you…if you won that Powerball. Feel better?