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4 Times Winning the Lottery Ended Terribly

Most of us dream of winning the lottery. Our lives would change forever, we think, for the better. For the lottery winners below, though, the massive win did not mean they ended up living happily ever after. The opposite was true. One winner was quoted saying, “Winning the lottery was the worst thing that ever happened to me.” Find out what happened to these winners below.

Alex and Ronda Toth


The Toths won a whopping $13 million dollars in 1990 from the Florida Lottery. Alex was on disability and Ronda was a nurse’s assistant. With only around $20 to their name, buying a lottery ticket a gamble. This gamble paid off, though, until the money ran out. The pair spent lavishly on friends, family, traveling, and gambling instead of wise investing. By the time the winning luck ran out, the pair foreclosed on their extravagant house and was forced back into a trailer park home. The court convicted the Toths with tax fraud but Alex passed away, leaving Ronda alone to serve out the two year conviction.

David Lee Edwards


David, who was convicted of robbery and served a jail sentence struck gold when he won the lottery in 2001. With $27 million in the bank, David went on a wild $12 million spending spree within the first year. He bought multiple homes, a golf community, jet, race horses, and invested into bad businesses. Within 5 years, he was living in a storage unit. In an Inside Edition interview, his daughter, Tiffani Edwards said of her dad, “He went crazy buying everything. Anything his heart desired, everything he always wanted, he had”. This included $1 million worth of cars. After squandering his winnings away, David passed away in hospice, penniless, at the age of 58.

Denise Rossi


In 1996, 49 year old Denise won a $1.3 million jackpot. Eleven days after winning, she files for divorce from her husband of 25 years – without saying a word – so she wouldn’t have to share. There are stories from both sides; Thomas says he was a loving and faithful husband; Denise says he was always broke leaving her to work most of the time. After a lawsuit was filed by Thomas, Denise had to hand over the entire jackpot to her ex-husband under a Family Code statute that “penalizes spouse for falsifying data about their property”

Lou Eisenberg


For three years, Lou purchased a $1 ticket every Friday before striking gold in 1981. The jackpot was the largest ever at the time – $5 million. The 53 year old first paid off his creditors and returned borrowed money to friends. But the bad decisions began to accumulate after that. He ended up gambling away his winnings, and the rest was spent on divorce settlements to a handful of ex-wives.

Winning the lottery can definitely be for the best. But what makes the difference are the decisions winners make after winning. These winners didn’t have the education for investing and principles of smart spending. This was apparent when the jackpot was blown away. To make better decisions, read our article on What to Do if You Win the Lottery .







20 responses to “4 Times Winning the Lottery Ended Terribly”

  1. Linda M. Leamer Avatar

    If I won a large amount , I would first pay my Tithe to my Lord then put the 1/2 of the rest in the market with a stable stock split into at least 3 stocks. Then buy a car that is about 2 years of age, get someone to help with housekeeping, then give to animal shelters and people in very sad situations ! That would pretty much , depending the amount won, eat it up !!

  2. Vivian W Rice Avatar

    I would pay some bills.Get a a.c. And heating system.And do new flooring.And new bathrooms .And different things around my house.

  3. Nadine Mackenzy Connor Avatar

    I will pay my tithe and offerings to the Lord first and foremost then I will finish paying off my Bills and debts and also look for a nice affordable home to live in and donate to meaningful charities.

  4. Erasmus Mundiya Avatar
    Erasmus Mundiya

    If i won a lottery i would invest wisely and buy assets that’s gonna pay off my cars and houses in a long run

  5. Sharri Duncan Avatar
    Sharri Duncan

    My mistake I had read it wrong. If I was to come to a great amount of money I would of course pay off all of my bills. Give some money to my family,close friends, donate. I will invest into shelters by helping the homeless.. Help out with scholarships, people with learning disabilities. By myself a home, a boat, a couple of vehicles, travel and just live life as my best life and be very thankful.

  6. luka kamondo Avatar

    I would pay some bills.Get a a.c. And heating system.And do new flooring.And new bathrooms .And different things around my house.

  7. Dr. Maimunah Avatar

    My friend of 18 years neighbor for 8 years Orencia won 85 million she has not said one word to me since she won 5 years ago so if I won I would pay off my home buy a nice car fix my home nice and give the rest away not in money but what people needed buy them a house car university education what they needed not wanted

  8. Virginia estocado Avatar
    Virginia estocado

    Pay off bills and renovate my home

  9. Patricia Office Avatar

    Give/ pay my tithes. Talk to an investor,so i would know what/where to invest. Give to a worthy charity. Put some away in some trust funds for my grandchildren. Give some to close family member and friends.

  10. Tina L Tremper Avatar

    Tithe first, invest in assets that would lay off all my previous unwise debts, and create the life style I wanted to live, with my loved ones.

  11. Beth Norman Avatar
    Beth Norman

    Pay tithes and offering – that’s very important!! Give a lump sum to my daughter and son-in-law and look around for anyone else I could help. See how many poor abused animals I could save in the world. Take a cruise!!!

  12. Jennifer P. Avatar
    Jennifer P.

    If I won the lottery I would first put money in CDs for each of my four kids. I would then put alot into savings and continue to work my job as if I didn’t win. I have a dependable vehicle now so I’d not buy a car unless money brake down. No need to have a lot of vehicle’s. I would invest some money that would later have a. Favorable return. I’d do intensive research first. Id not change the way I’m living because 1st and four most I have 4 young kids who need to learn responsibility. I going blowing money on exspensive stuff and vacations is not responble. Not a need. Last but for most I would donate some money to a charity of my kids choice. I would just remain working along side my husband cause he agrees to get that much money just blow it away you will end up in more debt then when you started. Do why not save and invest so if something would come up there be money there to use responsibly.

  13. Jacqueline Ramsey Avatar

    I would donate some to the veterans, some to animals that have been abused and some to St Jude.

  14. Jacqueline Ramsey Avatar

    I would give it to wounded veterans.

  15. Leona McNutt Avatar
    Leona McNutt

    I would buy my husband of 57 years a new car. Pay off all our bills . Invite my family and have a “bill paying” party for everyone. Hire a good investor!!

  16. Jean Griffin Avatar

    I would buy a nice piece of land
    Build five small three bedroom homes for special people in my life. D & B, Jay, Pris, myself and not
    Sure who else. J would go to college and get a new car. Other than that I would make a donation to St. Jude’s Hospital.
    The rest goes into the bank for a rainy day.

  17. Lukisha Purcell Avatar

    If I won the lottery ,I would Invest In our Children of the future,build safe houses for kids of the age of 18 to 25 to rehabilitate them that’s my dream .Kids of all races,and back Ground ethics pay of some debt live a healthier lifestyle

  18. Scott Seiler Avatar

    If I won the lottery I would be so astounded that I could not think for at least a month. In that time I would find a good lawyer and investment co. Of course pay my bills. Then I would use part to help my tribe. This is what the creator would want and will get.

  19. Tim Jackson Avatar
    Tim Jackson

    I would pay off my bills and i would love to build a big home and adopted children that really never had anyone to care for them.and adopted a few animals from a local shelter maybe get them a horse teach them how to Love and reasponsiblity.and buy 2 or three rental properties and the rest in a savings for a rainy day.

  20. Meg Neuherz Avatar

    If I won the lottery…I would give my sister in law the money owed to the funeral home from the passing of her husband and my oldest brother Michael who passed away April 17, 2019. She needs help fixing & maintaining the house. Then I can pay off my bills & car. I can then have a carefree life. Only if I win the lottery.

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