Don't Do This if You Win: 3 Lottery Horror Stories to Learn From

lottery paymentsIt happens to all of us: we watch excited lottery winners claiming their lottery lump sum payout on the nightly news, but what happens to them after they get their winnings? Considering it takes about 30 days for an immediate annuity to kick in, these winners have about a month until their life goes crazy. Read on to see what happened when lottery payments go haywire.

A hit man?!
William Post was a lucky guy for a couple minutes and won $16.2 million in a Pennsylvania lottery in 1988. Shortly after, a former girlfriend sued him for a share of his winnings, and then to put a twist on things, his brother hired a hit man to kill him, hoping to inherit a share of the jackpot.

His non-violent siblings coerced him into investing in a restaurant and car business in Florida. These ventures didn’t go over well and brought in no money. Post was eventually arrested for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector, and within a year, he was $1 million in debt. He lived the rest of his life off of social security and died in 2008.

Secrets Don’t Make Friends
Thomas and Denise Rossi were married for 25 years before Denise filed for divorce out of the blue. Little did Thomas know that the night before she filed, she won over $1 million dollars in lottery payments. She withheld this information throughout the entire divorce process, but once the truth came out, she was found to be in contempt of California’s disclosure laws. The entire lottery annuity payout was then given to Thomas.

Take from the Rich and Give to the …Rich
Jack Whittaker won $314 million on Christmas Day and pledged 10% of his winnings to charity. Less than a year after he won, thieves broke into his car and stole $545,000 in cash. They then returned and stole an additional $200,000 from his car a second time. As if that wasn’t enough, a strip club manager and dancer also conspired against him to steal his money. One would think the lottery would help Jack invest in new friends and a new hiding place for his money.

Don’t be like Jack, Denise, and William. Winning lottery payments can be a complicated process, and it can be hard to understand the tax withholdings, which amount up to 29% for federal taxes, and an additional six to nine percent for state taxes. The Mega Millions and Powerball, for example, come with multiple annuity settlements and it can be confusing to handle all this new cash without the proper guidance. The structured settlement experts at are there to help, so you can properly enjoy your new-found rich lifestyle!

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