Those who won the largest lottery jackpots are unique, but those huge sums didn’t make many of them famous. A famous lottery winner is a person who has an impressive story in the background of winning the money.
In this article, we are presenting all the famous lottery winners (and winners who lost it all) in the game’s history. Check out these amazing stories and learn more about how lotto changes these people’s lives forever!
- 2. Mavis Wanczyk
- 3. Stefan Mandel
- 4. Marie Holmes
- 5. Bill Morgan
- 6. Lerynne West
- 7. Shane Missier
- 8. Colin and Christine Weir
- 9. Gloria Mackenzie
- 10. Marvin and Mae Acosta
- 11. Lisa and John Robinson
- 12. David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith
- 13. James and Bob Stocklas
- 14. Gillian and Adrian Bayford
- 15. Callie Rogers and Tracey Makin
- Lottery Winners Who Lost It All
- Final Thoughts
1. Richard Lustig
Richard Lustig never won a jackpot over $1 million in his life. However, he earns the top place on this list because he is the winner of seven different grand prizes in various lotteries. He won three jackpots in Florida Fantasy 5, and an $842K jackpot in Mega Money.
Lustig’s total earnings turn out to be above $1.05 million before taxes. Those winnings inspired him to write a book with tips on how to win the lottery. His idea was simple – any winnings should be reinvested in playing lotto. The book inspired many players, but also attracted plenty of criticism.
Unfortunately, Richard passed away in 2018.
2. Mavis Wanczyk
Mavis Wanczyk had the luck of winning one of the biggest prizes in US Powerball. Although she technically won $758.7 million, the sum went down to $336.4 million once she paid taxes.
That was still life-changing for Mavis, who decided to quit her job in the local hospital in Massachusetts. She called the facility to resign shortly after she won the price.
Mavis appreciated the money, but she wanted privacy more. She revealed that she loved the moments when she could be alone and think about what to do with the prize. Wanczyk managed to protect her privacy, except for the time when scammers try to abuse her name to trick lotto players. However, the police revealed the scam quickly.
3. Stefan Mandel
Stefan Mandel might have a more original story than all other lottery winners out there. He won the lottery 14 times by using a formula that couldn’t fail. Mandel purchased all lotto combinations for the chosen session every time he wanted to play!
It was all in calculating the price of purchasing all available combinations and comparing it to the jackpot. Although many accused him of doing illegal business, he never spent a day in prison. It doesn’t seem he’s playing the lottery anymore, but we can assume he is leading a fine life.
4. Marie Holmes
Marie was another winner of Powerball, and her prize turned out to be about $127 million before applying the taxes. She didn’t forget how hard she worked before winning the jackpot. Marie was employed in fast-food restaurants and supermarkets, and it was hard to support the kids, especially since one of them was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Marie did everything right with the money – she bought her mom a house, decided to go to college, put enough on the side to support her children, and donated to charities. She donated 10% of her winnings to a church, which is the biggest ever donation to a religious institution from a lottery win.
It sounds unbelievable that the pastor filed a lawsuit saying that she promised to donate $10 million, and 10% was lower than that sum. Marie did the right thing once again and increased the donation!
5. Bill Morgan
It was an exciting year for Bill Morgan in 1998. He had a massive heart attack and spent two weeks in a coma, after being “medically dead” for 14 minutes. The doctors claimed his recovery was miraculous.
Bill scratched a new car worth $30K months after that. The TV teams were interested in doing a story about him. A camera was recording when he bought another scratchcard to recreate that winning moment. That card earned him another $250K of cash.
Today, Bill still buys scratchcards. However, he’s waiting for the next big win.
6. Lerynne West
Sometimes life is good to the right people, and Lerynne West is proof of that. She is a single mom who played the lottery for fun. Once Lerynne found out that she won $343.9 million, she acted sensibly. Hiring a wealth manager was the first thing to do, and it proved to be the right move.
Lerynne founded a charity named by her grandson, and it focuses on helping organizations related to kids’ education, veterans, and animals. She even appeared on Ellen, where she donated $500K to the Travis Mills Foundation. Although that contributed to her public image, Lerynne retired shortly after winning and is now leading a peaceful life.
7. Shane Missier
Shane Missier won $451 million on Mega Millions in 2018. He is young and thirsty for fame, which is why he didn’t hesitate to inform everyone about his win.
That attracted scammers, and a false account appeared soon on Twitter. It claimed that anyone who retweets would receive $5K from Shane. We don’t know if he honored that, but Shane is present on social networks these days.
8. Colin and Christine Weir
Colin and Christine had had an exciting run ever since 2011 when they won the EuroMillions jackpot. The first thing they did was to buy a luxury house with a wine cellar. They also bought two other mansions after that.
Since football is his big passion, Colin invested in Partick Thistle. It is a local football club in Glasgow, and Weir is involved in developing new training grounds for the team. They also entered politics and became donators of the Scottish National Party. The sources indicate the party received over €4 million from them, partially because they promote the “Yes” option in the independence referendum.
Colin and Christine also had numerous charity investments. It seemed that everything was going great until 2019.
9. Gloria Mackenzie
Gloria Mackenzie was 84 years old when she took home $278 million won in the US Powerball lottery. The actual prize was $590.5 million, but Gloria decided on a lump-sum payment, and the taxes applied reduced the reward even more.
These have been beautiful several years for Gloria. She moved to a seaside mansion worth over $1 million but didn’t forget charity. She helped to fix the roofing of a high school in Maine, among other charity acts.
It is a shame that the recent news reveals that Gloria accused her son Scott of squandering the winnings. There is no information on whether she has any money left in her account.
10. Marvin and Mae Acosta
Whenever you want to keep a low profile, somebody appears to ruin your plans. The Acostas seem like honest people who never wanted media attention. They set up a charity after winning $327 million in US Powerball but didn’t talk about where they invested the money.
Unfortunately, scammers created a fake charity website by abusing the Acosta name. They even had a website that stole the design of the Bill Gates Foundation. The scam was so obvious that not many people fell for it, which was fortunate.
11. Lisa and John Robinson
How would you like to have a private lake? It seems that was the dream of the Robinsons, who won $327.8 million (before taxes) in US Powerball in 2016.
They purchased a huge house with a lake that was only theirs, a home theater, and other amenities. However, Lisa and John also held their previous home in Tennessee, and Lisa even decided to continue working. Unfortunately, she has bad memories of that time. It is probably because everyone was asking for a loan or financial help.
Today, Robinsons are trying to maintain privacy, and they don’t attract media attention.
12. David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith
This is another pair that took a share of a generous $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot. They took home less than $300 million, and they didn’t change their lifestyle much.
Maureen and David purchased an SUV and Tesla vehicle, but other than that, everyone claims they stayed the same. People can still see them in local restaurants and shops. Furthermore, the local lottery vendors claim they still play lotto!
13. James and Bob Stocklas
Check out the photo, and it will become clear why these brothers became popular. James Stocklas won the Powerball lottery in 2016 when the jackpot was $291.4 million. His brother Bob also bought tickets for that session, and he won $7.
The image became a true internet hit, but it has a heartwarming story behind it. James made sure that his brother and entire family don’t have to worry about anything, which means there was enough money for everybody.
14. Gillian and Adrian Bayford
It seems that EuroMillions is particularly sensitive to couples. Gillian and Adrian are another couple who won the jackpot of €190 million. The UK-based duo was happy at the beginning, and they started buying luxury mansions and cars.
However, it seems that Adrian and Gillian wanted to live their lives separately. That is why they divorced a year after winning the jackpot. The good news is that they made a deal about splitting the money equally, which was the only smart thing to do.
Adrian tried to make it work with three other women. However, even his engagement failed, which is why he plans to move to a secret city where he can get a new chance.
15. Callie Rogers and Tracey Makin
Callie Rogers and Tracey Makin shared the title of youngest lottery winners ever. They both won jackpots in the UK, and they were both 16 years old at the time. The laws in the UK allow players to participate in lottery games if they are at least 16.
Callie won £1.9 million in 2003 and decided to live life to the fullest. She bought multiple sports cars and had two surgeries to enlarge her breasts. Callie also spent a lot of money on clothes, which we understand, and cocaine, which we can’t justify.
Tracey won €1 million in 1998 in the Lucky Dip Lotto. However, her story is nowhere near as exciting. Most of the money was spent on investments, and she is now an office worker.
Lottery Winners Who Lost It All
1. Michael Carroll
Michael Carrol was among the youngest lottery winners when he nailed the UK National Lottery grand prize in 2002. It was understandable for a person who is only 19 to be attracted by the fact of spending a huge sum of money.
The prize turned out to be £9.74 million, and Carrol wasted most of it. When we say wasted, that means he didn’t only spend on drugs and prostitutes but organized a makeshift demolition derby himself!
It was great until it lasted, and it lasted for four years. Carrol now works his old job and says that he doesn’t regret a single thing.
2. Jack Whittaker
Jack Whittaker was one of those rare people who were wealthy enough even before he won the lottery. However, it was he who won $315 million on US Powerball in 2002. It was the perfect gift for Christmas, but everything went downside from that moment.
Whittaker’s home was burglarized twice, and many people tried to sue him to get the money off him. Women often accused him of harassing them sexually, but that’s not the worst thing.
As any good grandpa, Jack was giving money to his granddaughter. The problem is he could give her large sums because he won the lottery. Unfortunately, his granddaughter overdosed after buying drugs with that cash.
Whittaker revealed that he was sorry he didn’t tear the ticket before claiming it. The recent news indicates he passed away in June 2020.
3. Kay and Martyn Tott
Most players who buy lottery tickets don’t believe in winning the actual jackpot. It seems that was the case with Kay and Martyn Tott. They were delighted when they earned that they won the £3 million prize in the UK Lottery in 2001.
Martyn and Kay had big plans, but a big problem – they didn’t have the winning ticket. They went to Camelot and even proved it was they who purchased the ticket. Nobody else came forward to claim it, and the public rallied behind the couple. Unfortunately, the rules were clear, and they never received the money.
Huge lottery wins often come hand in hand with public attention, even if only for a few days. Some winners have far more exciting stories than the others, but there is always the question of which one is better. After reading, we could describe many of these stories as fairytales (except for the ones that went wrong, of course). Always remember, the only way to make your lottery fairytale come true is to play the lotto regularly!