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Nancy's Notes

 Catch Nancy on the Morning News with Webster and Nancy.

Are they really winners?

A lot of you were talking this week about the sad sack of a guy in Albany who ‘wasn’t feeling lucky’ and didn’t join his co-workers in the winning Megamillions Pool. Maybe he can take some comfort in the fact he wasn’t alone, there were 4 others who also didn’t play. Webster commented that the guy probably is saving for surgery to turn his leg around so he could kick himself in the ass. Joe T said he would think “God hated me” if it happened to him.
Maybe God was looking out for him. It seems so simple at first, winning the lottery must be a GOOD thing. That’s not always the case. As a matter of fact, a number of winners wish they had never won at all. Some go bankrupt, some actually kill or are killed after winning.  It’s hard for many of us to imagine the numerous problems that winning creates. I know you think you’d do it different, but is it worth the risk? 
Imagine the long lost relatives, casual friends, people you are acquainted with who are ‘down and out’ who’d come out of the woodwork in droves.  
There was a study last year in The Review of Economics and Statistics that found that winning a lot of money made you just as likely to file bankruptcy in the first 2 years as non winners, and twice as likely in years 3-5. In Britain, 1/3rd of lottery winners had financial trouble or filed bankruptcy in 5 years. What is most shocking in these cases is that when people hit the jackpot, they didn’t use the money to pay down debts. Psychologists say that money won is treated differently than money earned. Case in point, you find $20 on the sidewalk. Do you pay a bill or go treat yourself? If you pick the latter, you’d probably make a lousy lottery winner. 
Other studies show that winning a large sum of money doesn’t make you happier or healthier. In fact, in many cases, you were worse off physically and emotionally. Many people don’t understand the tax ramifications, or the need for long term planning.   Some get hooked on booze, drugs, gambling, and/or hookers. Living the ‘big life’ opens the door for big problems.
Are you feeling better about losing yet? Again, you think you can do it better. Yeah, I do too. I’m also sure I could be wrong.  Here’s some examples of bad things that happened to big winners, courtesy of  You might want to click the link and follow their advice on how to go ‘stealth’ and avoid problems if you should win one day. Like being in the ‘witness protection program, you might have to say goodbye to your family forever.


28 Apr 1997 Lottery millionaire Michael Allen is bludgeoned to death in a Lewiston, Maine motel room.
22 May 1999 Billie Bob Harrell, Jr. commits suicide. In June 1997, Harrell won $31 million in the Texas state lottery.
4 Sep 2001 Patrick Collier randomly wins $1 million at a McDonald's in Holly Hill, Florida. "I'm getting a Harley and a couple of houses." Two weeks later, Collier is arrested for allegedly choking and punching his fiancee in the face.
19 Dec 2001 British lottery millionaire Phil Kitchen is found dead on his couch. Kitchen had apparently drunk himself to death (whiskey).
11 Jul 2002 British lottery winner Dennis Elwell dies at work, shortly after telling a coworker that he had drunk cyanide.
21 Apr 2003 $25 million lottery winner Richard Krenzer is stabbed six times by Randall Hillyard and his son at the Swillburg Stop Bar & Grill outside Rochester, NY.
29 Jun 2003 Lottery millionaire Jody Lee Taylor is arrested in Collinsville, Virginia for attempting to run over a sheriff's deputy. On the night of his arrest, Taylor was driving naked down the wrong side of U.S. Route 58 with his headlights off.
5 Aug 2003 After lottery millionaire Jack Whittaker passes out in a West Virginia strip bar, a burglar steals his briefcase containing $545,000 in negotiable bonds. The money is located in a trash dumpster the next morning.
13 Sep 2003 The London Telegraph reports that 16-year-old British lottery millionaire Callie Rogers has lost her boyfriend, fought with her father, been mugged, and been accused of stealing someone's man. "Some days I don't even want to leave my house because people just scream abuse at me. Two months ago I thought I was the luckiest teenager in Britain. But today I can say I have never felt so miserable."
15 Sep 2003 In his Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey home, lottery millionaire Oscar Cordoba repeatedly stabs his wife and her mother with a kitchen knife, killing the mother-in-law.
17 Oct 2003 In a program entitled Living with the Lottery Lout, ITV1 reports that British lottery millionaire Michael Carroll has completely alienated his neighbors in Swaffham, Norfolk by periodically staging loud, impromptu demolition derbies on his property.
18 Nov 2003 An English court issues a bench warrant for lottery millionaire Satish Patel, charged with defrauding the government for three years' worth of unemployment claims.
6 Jan 2004 After getting banned from Billy Sundays Bar and Grill in St Albans, West Virginia, lottery winner Jack Whittaker reportedly threatens to have the manager and his family killed.
20 Jan 2004 Lottery winner Jack Whittaker reports that shortly after dawn, somebody broke into his SUV in Scott Depot, West Virginia and stole a bag containing $100,000 cash.
25 Jan 2004 Lottery winner Jack Whittaker is arrested for drunk driving in Nitro, West Virginia. Police allege the millionaire blew a .190 blood alcohol on the breathalyzer.
Apr 2004 A judge rules that broke Virginia lottery millionaire Suzanne Mullins owes $154,146.50 to the People's Lottery Foundation, a Florida lending institution specializing in loans to lottery winners.
26 Jun 2004 At his Longmont, Colorado home, state lottery millionaire Kevin Lee Sutton allegedly shoots Cristobal Lopez in the head with a .22 caliber pistol. Lopez survives and Sutton is later charged with attempted murder.
20 Jul 2004 In Minneapolis, MN, lottery millionaire Victoria A. Zell reportedly crashes her SUV into a truck on the way home from a bar, killing passenger Joshua Schmidt and paralyzing Amity Dimock from the waist down.
7 Aug 2004 Incarcerated serial rapist Iorworth Hoare wins $12.9 million in the British lottery.
13 Aug 2004 The nonprofit group Equine Protection of North America files suit against New Hampshire lottery millionaire Mary Ellen Sanderson for failure to deliver on an alleged $70,000 annual donation pledge.
24 Aug 2004 An Arizona bird refuge, The Oasis Sanctuary, files suit against New Hampshire lottery millionaires Mary Ellen Sanderson and former husband Jason Sanderson for failure to deliver on an alleged $100,000 annual donation pledge.
Sep 2004 Minnesota lottery millionaire Victoria A. Zell is arrested for having allegedly violated the terms of her bail and possessing 0.7 grams of methamphetamine. Zell had also reportedly wired $500,000 to a Canadian bank.
10 Oct 2004 Seattle police officers shoot California lottery millionaire Rick Camat to death in a parking lot near Qwest Field. Officers claim that Camat refused to drop his pistol, but Camat's brother claims the cops give him no instructions to do so.
2 Oct 2005 Having spent his $10 million prize in just seven years, Winnipeg lottery winner Gerald Muswagon hangs himself. Notable events in his monied spree include a high-speed chase in 2000 and a sexual assault arrest in 2002.
28 Oct 2005 Million dollar jackpot winner Christina Goodenow is arrested after Oregon police discover that she had purchased the winning ticket with a credit card stolen from her dead mother-in-law. Police searching her home discover her stash of methamphetamine, but find no trace of her first $33,500 installment.
15 Jan 2006 Bankrupt ex-lottery millionaire William "Bud" Post III dies of respiratory failure in Seneca, Pennsylvania. Post had won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery on February 24, 1988. From a 1993 interview: "Everybody dreams of winning money, but nobody realizes the nightmares that come out of the woodwork, or the problems."

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