Winning the Mega Millions jackpot sounds great, but this story is tragic
Chances of winning the lotto are extremely low, but if you do win here’s what not to do.
Lottery winner David Edwards has lavished spending on himself and his girlfriend, Shawna Maddux, after his good fortune. He has bought a 4,400-square-foot home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and several luxury cars. (Photo: AP)
The jackpot for the Oct. 19, 2018, Mega Millions drawing is $1 billion, while the jackpot for the Oct. 20, 2018, Powerball is $470 million. This story originally published on Aug. 23, 2017.
Is there a lottery curse? Before you buy that ticket, remember the tragic story of one Kentuckian who won the jackpot.
David Lee Edwards, from Ashland, won $27 million in 2001. He lost it all by 2006.
The Courier Journal spoke to Edwards right after his win, saying it was “a poor man’s dream.”
“I’ve made mistakes in my past, and that’s been a long time ago. I’ve paid for those mistakes, and I went on with my life, and I straightened my life out, and I’ve been productive since then,” Edwards said.
“I am what I am today, and I thank God for that. I can’t go back and change my past, but I can do something positive with my future.”
But things didn’t go well. After he won the jackpot, Edwards and his wife spent the earnings on a mansion, dozens of expensive cars and a jet. They spent until the money ran out and left them both living in a storage unit after five years, according to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
Edwards bought a $1.6 million house in a private tennis and golf community in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and spent another $600,000 on another home. He also bought a $1.9 million LearJet, three losing racehorses and two businesses worth $4.5 million.
He collected cars including a $200,000 Lamborghini Diablo and at one point, the Daily Mail reports, he had $1 million in vehicles parked in front of his house.
In his first three months as a millionaire, he spent $3 million and after one year, he had spent $12 million, reported the New Times.
He had lost every bit by 2006.
Edwards and his wife contracted hepatitis from their needle drug use and both were arrested multiple times for possession of crack cocaine, pills and heroin, according to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
Edwards died “alone and penniless” in hospice care at the age of 58 in 2013, just 12 years after the lottery changed his life, reported the Daily Mail.
His family and friends say this story is a prime example of the influence of money. By the time he died, he lost every penny of his fortune and owed thousands of dollars to friends.
After receiving a ceremonial check at Louisville Slugger Museum, Powerball winner David Edwards, of Westwood, Ky., answered reporters’ questions yesterday with fiancee Shawna Maddux at his side. They may move to Las Vegas or Florida. (Photo: Courier-Journal archives)
The jackpot for the July 24, 2018, Mega Millions drawing is $512 million. But it's not always a happy ending for lottery winners.
The Tragic Story of a Kentucky Man Who Won the Lottery
For those who win the lottery, a cautionary tale.
David Lee Edwards, from Ashland, Kentucky, won $27 million in 2001. But by 2006, he had lost all his money.
“I’ve made mistakes in my past, and that’s been a long time ago. I’ve paid for those mistakes, and I went on with my life, and I straightened my life out, and I’ve been productive since then,” Edwards told USA Today back in 2001. “I am what I am today, and I thank God for that. I can’t go back and change my past, but I can do something positive with my future.”
However, things didn’t go as planned for Edwards—like many lottery winners.
David Lee Edwards and his wife (Police mugshot)
After the win, Edwards and his wife spent the money on a mansion, dozens of expensive cars, and even a jet, according to the report. He spent $600,000 on one home and bought a $1.6 million Florida mansion.
Edwards bought a $1.9 million LearJet, three racehorses—who lost—and purchased two businesses worth $4.5 million.
The New Times reported that he spent more than $12 million after one year.
He also bought a $200,000 Lamborghini Diablo super car and a $90,000 Dodge Viper. He invited an NBC News TV crew into his home, telling them he was wearing a $78,000 diamond-encrusted gold watch as well as a $159,000 ring. He also showed them his $30,000 plasma screen TV, MailOnline reported.
Edwards also bought 200 swords, armor, and other antiques.
“I didn’t want to accept this money by saying I’m going to get mansions and I’m going to get cars, I’m going to do this and that,” he said as he accepted his check, according to the New York Daily News. “I would like to accept it with humility. I want this money to last, for me, for my future wife, for my daughter, and future generations.”
According to the Daily News, his friends would do drugs at his mansion—and he would supply them.
“He actually had I don’t know how many friends OD once he won the money, from him giving them money and them going and buying so much and doing so much drugs that they died. Then he would pay for their funerals,” James Gibbs, his former Morgan Stanley broker, told the New Times. “I would just sit there and cringe.”
After winning, he and his wife were arrested multiple times for pills, heroin, and crack cocaine, the New Times reported. They had both contracted hepatitis.
In December 2013, Edwards died at the age of 58 in hospice care—”alone and penniless,” according to USA Today. Before he was committed to hospice care, as MailOnline reported, he was living in a “squalid storage unit.”
His family and friends note that this story is an example of the influence that money can have on a person’s life.
“If he followed my advice, he’d be pulling in about $85,000 a month for the rest of his life,” Gibbs later stated.
Another lottery winner, William ‘Bud’ Post III, won $16.2 million in the lottery in 1988, but he later remarked that it was tantamount to a curse.
“Everybody dreams of winning money, but nobody realizes the nightmares that come out of the woodwork, or the problems,” he said in 1993, according to the Washington Post. He died in 2006.
The Post also reported: “His problems included a brother who tried to hire a contract murderer to kill him and his sixth wife; a landlady who forced him to give her one-third of the jackpot; and a conviction on an assault charge, after Mr. Post fired a shotgun at a man trying to collect a debt at his deteriorating dream house in northwestern Pennsylvania. He went bankrupt, came out of it with $1 million free and clear and spent most of that windfall, too.”
For those who win the lottery, a cautionary tale. David Lee Edwards, from Ashland, Kentucky, won $27 million …