A cynical Powerball winner from Jersey would never have come forward so fast
Mavis Wancyk made a huge mistake by coming forward less than 24 hours after winning $758 million in Powerball. The 53 year old Massachusetts resident already told her employer she wasn't coming back, and already has the whole world knowing who she is. There's no way this was enough time to have caught her breath and organized her thoughts. No way was this enough time to have found a legit financial planner she could trust, or a lawyer to advise her.
Instead, you can bet every shyster under the sun is running in her direction to "handle her good fortune" and every relative and elementary school acquaintance she hasn't seen in forty plus years is going to be on her doorstep. I sincerely hope she doesn't make further mistakes in handling this money. She seems like a good person who has worked hard all her life. I think she could have used a healthy dose of New Jersey style cynicism and slowed down the process.
It makes me think of how often someone has won big money and then made every bad decision under the sun and ended up right back where they were before winning. Just a few examples.
Jack Whittaker of West Virginia won Powerball in 2002. $314 million. Just months after winning, he went to a strip club and decided it was safe to leave over half a million dollars in cash sitting in his parked Lincoln Navigator. It was stolen. From there a series of eerie personal tragedies struck including the death of his granddaughter's boyfriend, the death of his granddaughter, then the death of his daughter. A series of lawsuits were filed against him and he did not spend his money with any rhyme or reason. Alcohol and strippers seemed to be the biggest beneficiaries of his good fortune. He later said he wished he had never won.
Callie Rogers won $3 million in a lottery in the UK. She blew it on gifts for friends, vacations, partying, etc.. She ended up working as a cleaning woman and facing bankruptcy.
Rhoda and Alex Toth won $13 million in Florida in 1990 and went through it all in a decade.
In Michigan, in 1989, a guy named Willie Hurt ended up hurting alright. He won over $3 million that year but within two years developed a partying lifestyle and was hooked on crack-cocaine. The habit was so severe it ate up his entire fortune. He went through divorce, lost custody of his kids, and wound up charged with attempted murder.
Michael Carroll won the equivalent of $15 million in a British lottery. He spent it unwisely on prostitutes, fast cars, parties, cocaine, you name it. In five years he lost it all and was trying to get his old job back as a garbageman.
I guess the lesson here is be careful what you wish for. Then be careful with what you've got.