As Americans gobble up tickets for a chance to win Friday’s record $540 million Mega Millions jackpot, cautionary rags-to-riches tales abound.
The lucky winner, as of Thursday, stands to win a lump sum of $389 million before taxes using the cash option. Annuity payments over the course of 26 years will amount to just over $20.7 million before Uncle Sam gets a cut.
But winning the Big One isn’t a guaranteed ticket to the good life, as these previous winners can attest:
-Jack Whittaker: This West Virginia businessman won $315 million in the Powerball lottery in 2002, the largest jackpot ever from a single ticket in American history at the time. After being robbed of $545,000 in cash while at a strip club, Whittaker’s granddaughter and daughter were later found dead, and Whittaker was sued by Caesars Atlantic City casino for bouncing $1.5 million worth of checks to cover gambling losses.
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