Lottery winners: Stories of joy & woe

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The good, the bad & the ugly of hitting the jackpot

The latest $400 million Powerball winner has chosen to remain anonymous. We look at the triumph and tragedy of past lottery winners. See gallery


Latest Powerball winner to remain anonymous

The winner: Anonymous Columbia, S.C., resident

The haul: $399.4 million

The aftermath: His story is yet to be told. What is known is the random nature of his win. The anonymous winner stopped to get gas at a Murphy Express in Columbia with an additional request from his wife to buy hot dog buns. The store didn't sell buns, so the man bought $20 worth of lottery tickets instead. When he discovered the winning ticket, he told his best friend. (That would be his dog.) And the rest is history.

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Record $590 million Powerball winner identified as Gloria C. MacKenzie

The winner:  Gloria C. MacKenzie

The haul: $590 million

The aftermath: Gloria MacKenzie, an 84-year-old retiree from Zephyrhills, Fla., became the largest sole winner of a lottery in American history when she won the May 18 Powerball jackpot of $590 million. Her identity was revealed on June 5, after more than two weeks of speculation by locals. What she will do with the $370.8 million lump-sum payout she chose remains to be seen, as she reportedly left the check-acceptance press conference without talking to reporters.

This nice gesture allowed MacKenzie to land the winning ticket

Would-be winner: 'Things happen'

Tips on saving your winnings

 

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Man who won $338 million is charged with missing child support

The winner:  Pedro Quezada

The haul: $338 million

The aftermath: Shortly after winning a massive $338 million Powerball jackpot in March 2013, Patterson, N.Y., bodega owner Pedro Quezada was accused of missing $30,000 in child-support payments. After paying off the debts, word soon came that Quezada was planning to pay for the rent of his entire block. Unfortunately, Quezada reportedly told the same judge who heard his child-support case that the rent-paying story was "just a rumor."

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Facing eviction, man finds winning lottery ticket in cookie jar

The winner:  Ricardo Cerezo

The haul: $4.8 million

The aftermath: In February 2013, Ricardo Cerezo of Geneva, Ill., was weeks away from being evicted from his apartment when his wife told him he needed to check the lottery tickets he'd been keeping in a cookie jar or she was going to trash them. So Cerezo took the stack of tickets to a local 7-Eleven and learned that one of them was a winner in the Illinois Lottery and he had a $4.8 million windfall coming his way. Needless to say, Cerezo's rent got paid.

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Everything that can go wrong does for Powerball winner

The winner:  Jack Whittaker

The haul: $314.9 million

The aftermath: West Virginia construction worker Jack Whittaker is often viewed as the poster boy for everything that can go horribly wrong with winning the lottery. In 2002, Whittaker won a nearly $315 million Powerball jackpot and immediately set to work in blowing it. There were multiple thefts of his cash, big-time gambling debts, whimsical luxury purchases and money given away to family members and hangers-on. Later, his granddaughter and then his daughter turned up dead, and he found himself being sued by an Atlantic City casino. Since 2007, Whittaker has claimed he is broke.

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Career lottery winner shares secrets in book

The winner:  Richard Lustig

The haul: "Well into the millions," he tells MSN News. He claims to have won seven lottery grand prizes and countless other prizes but does not keep track of the totals.

The aftermath: Orlando, Fla., author Richard Lustig hasn't won the most money playing the lottery, but he may have had the most wins. Lustig says that technique, not luck, has notched him his seven grand-prize wins, and in his book "Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery," he claims to have divulged his secrets (hint: it involves buying a lot of tickets). Whether his methods work is debatable, but there's little doubt that he's a habitual lottery winner.

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Scratcher winner wins big, then drops dead

The winner:  Urooj Khan

The haul: $1 million

The aftermath: In the summer of 2012, Chicago laundromat owner Urooj Khan took a small chance and won big on a couple of Scratchers tickets. With a million-dollar winner in hand, he celebrated with his family, but before he could collect his winnings, he suddenly dropped dead in his home. Initially ruled an accidental death, Khan's demise was later ruled a homicide when cyanide was found in his system. Now his family members are jockeying over his windfall, and the police appear to be far from solving the killing.

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Winning couple earns reputation for generosity

The winner:  Chris and Colin Weir

The haul: $248 million

The aftermath: Scottish couple Chris and Colin Weir landed the U.K.'s largest-ever EuroMillions prize in July 2011 when they won roughly $248 million. Since then, they have been busy giving away portions of it. They helped pay for the expensive surgery for a 3-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and launched a $10 million foundation aimed at supporting Scottish social services. By all accounts, the couple have worked hard to give back, though their generous reputation appears to have attracted numerous scam artists.

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Rex Features: Jeremy Durkin
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The 'King of Chavs' loses kingdom to crack

The winner:  Michael Carroll

The haul: $15 million

The aftermath: Michael Carroll was only 19 years old and working as a garbageman in 2002 when he won about $15 million in the U.K. National Lottery. Inscribing his Mercedes with the phrase "King of Chavs," Carroll set to work spending his fortune on houses, parties, crack cocaine, booze and prostitutes. In only a few short years, he had spent all his money and was applying to get his job as a garbageman back. He was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying, "The dealer who introduced me to crack has more of my lotto money than I do."

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