Hitting the jackpot means you have a big decision to make: do you take your winnings in a lottery lump sum payout or in a lottery annuity settlement? A lump sum is a good idea if you have big plans for the money — like starting a new business — while the annuity, which pays the sum in increasing lottery payments, can help you get more of your money by lowering the amount lost in taxes. Pick the wrong one, and you may be out of a lot of money that you could have used.
Then again, even playing the lottery can be a bad decision. Here are a few stories that might surprise you.
The Man Who Violated Parole. – Winning $1 million is literally a dream come true for many and can mean a future devoid of worries. That is, unless you’re name is Timothy Elliott, who once robbed a store and then used the money to buy lottery tickets. Unfortunately, he won in 2007 while he was on parole, which meant he wasn’t allowed to gamble. He not only lost the money, but went back to jail as a result.
The Woman Who Committed Welfare Fraud. – Amanda Clayton made it big when she won the Michigan Lottery-sponsored game show Make Me Rich! At the time, she was receiving government assistance. Naturally, winning the lottery should have taken care of her problems, and it did, but she didn’t stop the money from coming in. Consequently, the state of Michigan charged her with two felony counts of welfare fraud with a penalty of up to five years in prison for each count.
The Man Who Got Deported. – Immigrating to the United States, pulling yourself up by the boot straps, and achieving a life of fortune and social prestige is quite literally the American Dream. And Jose Antonio Cua-Toc got really, really close. He illegally immigrated to the country, and won the lottery. At the time, he was working for a guy named Erick Cervantes, and asked him to cash it in for him. Cervantes kept the money, though. After years of unfortunate incidents, encounters, and legal battles, Cua-Toc won some of his money back, but had to agree to leave the country and stay away for at least 10 years to receive it.
These are just a few of the people whose lives weren’t made better by the lottery annuity or lump sum. If you know of any others, feel free to share their stories in the comments.