This is What Former Lottery Winner is Doing Now
If you had one wish what would it be? Probably, a good number of people would choose to win the lottery. With all that money it sure would be great to buy a new house, drive a fancy car or own a private jet.
The stars lined up in 2015 for Marie Holmes, a poor single mother, who won the North Carolina Powerball lottery that was worth a cool $188 million dollars. However, after a series of events that cost Holmes a lot both financially and emotionally, she made may have wished that she never won the lottery in the first place.
Nobody Better Deserved to Win the Lottery
Nobody deserved to win the lottery more than Marie Holmes. At the time, Holmes was a 26-year-old single mother who worked two jobs to support her four children. It was difficult to work both at McDonald’s and WalMart, but she did whatever it took to take care of her children.
Shortly before Holmes hit the jackpot, she had to leave both jobs as one of her children was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Caring for four children is tough for any couple, especially if one of them has a debilitating disability, but for a single mother the pressure was nearly unbearable. All she wished for was to take care of her children, and now she wasn’t able to hold on to her jobs to provide for them.
One Lucky Day Her Wish Came True
In February 2015, the North Carolina Powerball jackpot was at $564 million dollars, so she got herself a ticket for a few dollars at the local gas station. Not long after she got back to her trailer home, did she find out that she held the winning ticket.
When asked how she felt after winning, Holmes said, “I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw the ticket and checked it”. Because two other people also had winning tickets, Holmes only won a third of the jackpot.
Not so Fast
What is the most you have ever won on a lottery ticket? Fifty dollars? A hundred dollars? Because the vast majority of lottery wins are nothing life-changing, the lottery commission authorizes the places that sell lottery tickets to pay winnings up to $599 dollars. All big winners, such as Marie Holmes who had just won $188 million needed to go through a long process to claim their winnings.
Lottery winners need to fill out paperwork to verify the magic ticket, then there is a waiting period for the funds to be dispersed, and lastly, winners need to decide whether they want the money in a lump sum or to receive it in installments over thirty years.
A Millionaires Choice
The hardest choice fan overnight multi-millionaire has is whether to take their millions in a lump sum payment or spread it out over a set period of years. Marie Holmes had the option of taking the $188 million spread out over the thirty years or take the lump sum of $127 million dollars. It’s actually not an easy choice as you may think, because the lump payment is worth significantly less. According to experts, it makes financial sense to take the whole lump sum provided and invest it, because with interest it would be more profitable over a thirty period than what the lottery commission offers.
We don’t usually hear about the ones that take the spread out payments, probably because most don’t. If you are lucky enough to beat the improbable odds, then you probably would take the one big oversized check as Holmes did.
Here comes Uncle Sam
Still, from nothing to $127 million isn’t too bad, even though it is a $51 million dollar difference. It makes sense because $1 million is unfathomable to most of us, so $127 million doesn’t look that much different than $188 million. Little did Holmes know that the deductions didn’t end there.
Lottery winnings are taxed as if it were income, both on the federal and state level. On lump sums, the State of North Carolina takes 5.8% and the Federal Government takes a minimum of 25%. Sometimes they can take up to 39.6% if the winnings qualify for the highest tax bracket. Depending on how Ms. Holmes was taxed, she may have had to pay up to $50 million dollars on her winnings.
Have you ever get asked what you would do if you won a million dollars? Many people might say commendable things such as; donating money to charity, helping out relatives and friends, and investing it wisely. Holmes wasn’t different than any one of us, as she planned to put the money to noble causes. She pledged to donate money to her church, move out of their trailer to a proper house, and to set up college funds for her children.
Emplaning her decisions, Holmes told NBC news station after winning “All the struggle that I ever went through, it was all for them. I want them to understand that money doesn’t change you, but it can help you.”
Nobody Saw it Coming
Ms. Holmes was described as a person who understood the value of a dollar according to her friends and family. After all, she was a single mother who worked two jobs at McDonald’s and Wal-Mart to support her four children; one of whom had cerebral palsy. Even though she now had the ability to own a fleet of planes from her lottery winnings, nobody thought she would take it for granted.
Despite all of this, money changes people, especially if it is a case of rags to riches. The person who everyone believed deserved it the most soon would be the one everyone turns on.
Winners of the lottery need financial counselors much more than already established multi-millionaires who already know how to invest money wisely. With that much money, it seems impossible to ever blow it, but as many financial experts will say that; if it is not properly invested than even this mind-boggling amount of money can disappear in the blink of an eye.
Ms. Holmes understandably had to do things that benefited herself and her children’s standard of life. But there were some very dubious decisions that she made that made her go down the wrong road
The frivolous spending began when she bought her boyfriend, LaMar McDow, a $15,000 diamond laced Rolex. What seems like a penny in a bucket to the amount she won was actually the tip of the iceberg of what her boyfriend ended up taking from her. McDow only has a hundred dollars in his bank account when he was arrested in 2014, and now he had a girlfriend that has the ability to bail him out no matter what the cost.
Denying the allegation that Ms. Holmes spent $21 million on his bails, McDow said, ‘’So many people are going on that she has paid $21 million to get me out of jail, but that ain’t true. It is just 10 percent”.
A New House
McDow used to live with Ms. Homes and the four children in her trailer before being sent to jail in 2014. When he was released from jail, McDow moved into the $350,000 home that Ms. Holmes bought after winning the lottery, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
The report also shed light on how much money Ms. Holmes actually received from the lump sum that she decided to take. After taxes, she received $88 million which is a far fetch from the original $188 million dollars she won. Again, for someone that comes from rags to riches $88 million is still a mind-boggling amount of money, but Ms. Holmes would soon learn that a loss of $100 million dollars makes a big difference.
Can I Borrow Some Money?
What happens next happens is unsurprising. After Ms. Holmes became famous for her lottery winnings, friends, family, and many others were calling her to borrow some money or for a straight up handout. After all, what’s $10,000 for a good friend? What’s a new home for an aunt that bought your favorite toy in preschool?
The couple was constantly beleaguered for their money, even though their friends and family were coming to her with good intentions. It got to the point that every time McDow fielded a call, Holmes would say to him “when money comes there are more problems’’. How right she was.
After the big jackpot win, Ms. Holmes and her boyfriend who were persons of color moved out of their trailer home into a very expensive home in an affluent white neighborhood. Sadly, racial prejudice is still alive and well in the world, and the couple was constantly harassed by their neighbors both subtly, and not so subtly.
“One neighbor set up a camera to record everything we were doing. If I was driving down the road and going at the speed limit, they would wave at me for going too fast. They did not want us there. They were prejudiced,” McDow told the Daily Mail.
Tithe to The Church
The Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church was Ms. Holmes’s sanctuary ever since she was a kid. She took the church’s teachings to heart and tried to exemplify them in her day to day life. To display her gratitude to God and the church, Ms. Holmes pledged 10%, also known as a ‘tithe’, of her winnings to charity.
Perhaps if Ms. Holmes was able to claim her winnings anonymously, and kept a secret of her charitable donations, then no one would have been able to take advantage of her good heart. Unlike other states, all big lottery winners names are published for the public record in North Carolina by law.
Getting the Ball Rolling
Ten percent of $88 million dollars is a lot of cash, and even the noblest institutions could use that staggering amount of money for unnecessary things. Still, Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church was a strong pillar in her life, and according to a press release, “The first thing she promised was to tithe – or give a tenth of her winnings to charity.”
To get things started she donated $700,000 to the church that she and her family have gone to for years. The church used the money for long overdue needed repairs.
Pastor with An Agenda
A pastor, named Kevin Mathews, who was not affiliated with Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church started to get involved with Ms. Holmes and her family. Even though they did not know him before they won the lottery, the pastor claimed that ”God led him to them”. They believed him, and invited him to their home for ministerial services and to help McDow make better life decisions.
Pastor Mathews felt comfortable enough to ask Ms. Holmes for one and a half million dollars to help him build a retreat. The pastor says that even though the agreement was never put in writing, Ms. Holmes did agree verbally to give him the money. Rather than wait, Pastor Mathews went on to build the retreat with his own money.
Pastor with A Lawsuit
Pastor Mathews came out publicly with the intention to sue Ms. Holmes for $10 million dollars. Where he got that figure from remains a mystery considering the resort cost only 1.5 million. It’s clear though that he was trying to get a large portion of the 10% of Ms. Holmes’s winnings that promised to her church and to various other charities.
Considering nothing was put in writing, Kevin Mathews didn’t have much of a case. Brazenly Mathews claimed, “Because of the emotional distress and mental stress, they put me through, I had to start taking more medicine for anxiety and depression due to this situation”.
When the story hit the headlines, the public was outraged at the nerve of the greedy pastor who was going after a noble church-going woman. People called out the fraudster for what he was, and even a YouTuber published a serious of videos titled “F*** You Kevin Matthews’’.
in most probability, any sane lawyer wouldn’t take up the case because there was no written contract between Ms. Holmes and Pastor Mathews. Dubiously, the pastor refused to give his lawyers name to a reporter because the ‘’motion hasn’t been completed’. Sadly, it seems that the greedy pastor just wanted to vilify Ms. Holmes.
Skeletons in The Closet
What came out next in the news headlines was much more devastating to Ms. Holmes and her four children. Somehow it was picked up that her ex-convict boyfriend was cheating on her. Reports kept creeping in that Ms. Holmes chose to pay off McDow’s mistresses instead of kicking him to the curb.
A video went viral on Facebook where an unnamed woman claimed that not only was McDow cheating on Ms. Holmes was also taking money from her to pay for ‘sexual favors’ from other women.
It takes an incredible person whether rich or poor to pick themselves up when misfortune falls. Despite all the wealth and the negative headlines, Ms. Holmes found the strength to not give up. The lottery winner turned to an inspirational woman to help her take control of her life again.
With her life spiraling out of control, Ms. Homes made an appearance on the Iyanla: Fix My Life talk show. The show can be found on the Oprah Network which features relationship expert Iyanla Vanzant, a well-known author, motivational speaker, and a life coach.
A Guarded Secret
Some people choose numbers that are considered lucky for their lottery ticket. It’s not uncommon to find people using their child’s birthday or wedding date on the magic ticket that could change their lives forever.
During Ms. Homes appearance on the Iyanla: Fix My Life talk show, her mother made a shocking confession. Fontella was the one who picked the numbers and let her daughter believe that it was her own random numbers that won. “I kept dreaming about your brother that we lost. His birthday, he was the third child, he’d have been 25 that year. Those were the numbers,” she said.
In disbelief, Ms. Homes asked why she didn’t tell her this before? To which her mother answered that ‘’I wanted her daughter and grandchildren to have a better life.’’
The Real Hot Sauce
LaMar McDow is known as ‘Hot Sauce’ by his fellow gang members and was bailed out three times by Ms. Holmes. McDow was Ms. Holmes’s boyfriend before she won the big dollars, and was in jail at the time for drug charges. Right after Ms. Holmes won, she bailed out her boyfriend to the tune of a three-million-dollar bond. Hot Sauce took advantage of her kindness right away by using her money for his own self-gratification.
Not even a year passed and he was arrested again that July. Once again, her kind heart bailed out the gang member for a six-million-dollar bond. Instead of changing his behavior, McDow continued to cheat on Ms. Holmes and use her money for his exploits. Instead of learning from his mistakes, Hot Sauce was arrested for a third time. Instead of letting him rot in jail, Ms. Holmes bailed him out for a whopping twelve-million-dollar bond.
Boyfriend Takes Down Girlfriend
It seemed inevitable that Ms. Holmes would face serious trouble as long as she stayed with McDow. That day came when McDow was arrested the second time when police were summoned to arrest McDow for violating his mandated curfew. When the police came in, they found marijuana in the house, and also charged Ms. Holmes for possession. Sadly, this all took place in front of her children.
Marijuana use has become very common in the United States, but sadly the black community are demonized for it and are three times more likely to get arrested for possession. The legalization of recreational marijuana is only offered in ten states, and the use of medical marijuana is allowed in thirty states. Unfortunately for Ms. Holmes, any forms of use are prohibited in North Carolina.
Not a Happy Camper
The three-time convict was not happy that his girlfriend was being bashed in the newspapers for posting his bail three times. McDow told the Daily Mail, “We are a couple, and I am the father of her youngest child. This is what people do for each other. She has the money and she can do what she wants with it.”
“If I had that money then I would do the same for her. People are just jealous because of how much she won and people want to see me locked in jail,” he said.
In the middle of taping Iyanla: Fix My Life, two more bad things made headlines. After her mother confessed to what happened with the numbers on the lottery ticket, relatives and friends started to accuse Ms. Holmes of stealing the ticket from her mother. It did not matter to them that Fontella said on the show that she gave it willingly.
Ms. Holmes also found out during the taping of the show that her boyfriend was heading back to jail to serve a seven-year sentence for possession and distribution of heroin. Ever since the day her lucky numbers were called so many bad things had befallen her. Most people would break, but not Ms. Holmes.
A Promise Fulfilled
Despite questionable decisions on her part, Ms. Holmes still kept her integrity. She fulfilled her promise of giving 10% of her winnings to various which equated to $9.7 million dollars. Part of the tithed money was used to set up a charitable foundation in North Carolina called The Marie Holmes Foundation.
The foundation is mirrored after her life’s experiences before winning the lottery. As a single mother who worked two very low wage jobs, it was very difficult for Ms. Holmes to provide for her four children, especially with the medical bills for the child that has cerebral palsy. The Marie Holmes Foundation provides for underprivileged children and struggling families. The charity often holds large events where school supplies and toys for the holiday season are given out.
Isn’t She a Christian
Ms. Holmes is a devout Catholic which could make it strange to some that she even bought a ticket, because the Christian church frowns upon gambling. But it’s hypocritic to believe so according to one pastor who told the Christian Post, “You can’t be against the lottery, but your youth department is doing a RAFFLE! Same thing pastor. SAME THING!”
“You can’t be against the lottery and you have a prize of $500 for whoever brings the most people on family and friends day,’’ he said.
Money Is the Devil
In the same article in the Christian Post, another pastor cited biblical sources that indicated that money is the source of evil, “Now, having said that, let me tell you that the biblical principles that would dissuade a Christian from gambling are several. First, we must guard against our love of money.’’
“In Scripture, there are instances of casting lots but usually not for material gain. It rather emphasizes the sovereignty of God. For example, Proverbs 16:33 says ‘’The lot is cast into the lap but it’s every decision is from the Lord,” he said.
A Word of Advice
In this story, Ms. Holmes went from rags to riches in a very short period of time, and a few good things and many bad things followed suit. If you happen to win big in the lottery, we suggest to read this story first and take it to heart. Make sure you understand the tax laws and processes before opting to take the lump sum, make sure the ticket is signed by you to avoid accusations of theft, and make sure cash the ticket in before it expires.
Another word of advice. It’s ok to use the money to improve your quality of life, but make sure to hire a good financial advisor who understands the financial market. Such an advisor will be able to provide you with sound instruction on how to protect your money.
Chances are you aren’t going to win the lottery a second time. Be careful, because even though millions seem impossible to blow in one lifetime; it can happen in a blink of an eye. Besides the government taking a big chunk of your money, unpaid debts can bring you down real fast.
Lastly, expect to be harassed by family members, friends, and even strangers. It’s wise to not flaunt your money in peoples faces, and try to stay as anonymous as possible when helping other people out.
This is What Former Lottery Winner is Doing Now If you had one wish what would it be? Probably, a good number of people would choose to win the lottery. With all that money it sure would be great
She Had The Winning Lottery Ticket For $564 Million, Then Her Pastor Sued Her
September 8, 2019
Marie Holmes, a young single mother, was living in a trailer, struggling to make ends meet for herself and her four children, one of whom was disabled. That’s when, seemingly out of nowhere, she won the Powerball jackpot — and subsequently had to face a series of unforeseen events that threatened to tear her life apart.
Marie Holmes had fallen on difficult times. A single mother, she had four small children, all under the age of 10, and she herself was just 26. Making ends meet was an incredibly challenging uphill battle. To try and support herself and her family, she had been revolving between a variety of jobs, including roles at McDonald’s and Wal-Mart.
That was until her son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which caused her to have to take a leave from work and stay home in order to take care of him. Little did she know at the time, but something was on the horizon that would soon alter her future forever — though not entirely for the best.
Small Town Troubles
Marie was living in a trailer in Shallotte, North Carolina, a small town of less than 4,000 souls not far from the sea shore and the South Carolina border. The father of her youngest child, one-year-old Ebony, was called Lamarr “Hot Sauce” McDow, and he had been supporting Marie through two years of difficult times.
Yet all the while, Lamarr had demons of his own to battle. In spite of it all, though, their lives were about to change in an incalculable way. And as he attempted to weather the storm, Lamarr and Marie were about to get mired down in troubles they could not even fathom.
A Menial Errand
Marie had not had an easy upbringing. Her father Elroy was in jail serving out a five-year sentence on drug charges. However, her mother, Fontella, was thankfully still in the picture. On an otherwise uneventful day in early 2015, Marie sent her mom out on a fated errand.
Fontella was setting out for church, when Marie slipped her $15 and asked her to stop on the way at their local Scotchman convenience store, to pick up five Quick Pick lottery tickets for the Powerball jackpot. It was a simple request for an everyday task, but it was about to irreversibly alter the course of their lives.
Marie hadn’t been anxiously awaiting the results of the lottery. After all, what was the probability that something so random could actually work for her and lift her up out of her difficult situation? Sending her mother to pick up the tickets at the convenience store was just a simple act that anyone might do with their spare money.
She had not been counting on it to actually come true. So, in fact, she wasn’t watching on February 11 when the winning numbers for the Powerball jackpot were announced on television. But the next morning, she discovered the incredible news — and began to scream.
A Life-Changing Moment
Bewildered, Marie’s children asked her what was happening, wondering on Earth what was making their mom jump all over the place, shrieking. Marie, in turn, could barely even explain to them what was happening. Besides, they were too young to understand any of it. But their mother had just won one-third of the Powerball jackpot.
That meant their world, which up until now had been confined to a trailer, was about to change beyond all recognition. But what’s more, that same childlike innocence was about to help shield them for understanding the far more sinister chain of events on the horizon.
Beating The Odds
Marie’s odds had been 175 million to one. She had won one-third of the $564.1 million Powerball jackpot, to the tune of $188,000,000. In fact, Marie had made state history, snatching up the highest amount ever taken in a lottery by a resident of North Carolina.
YouTube/NC Education Lottery
Naturally, after taxes, she wouldn’t be able to keep all the money. But even after deductions, she could still walk away with the hefty sum of $88,000,000. She now had the option: to receive her money steadily, in installments across the next 30 years, or all of it in one lump sum. What would she choose?
Already, Marie’s life was changing before her eyes. It would have been mind-blowing enough for someone with a more stable life to win the Powerball jackpot. For this single mother who had just barely been scraping by, the events unfolding were beyond her wildest fantasies.
Almost immediately, she had to have a security detail accompany her from place to place, which took some getting accustomed to. She also had to take up lawyers and financial advisers. While the odds of winning the lottery are unimaginably rare, such a sudden and exponentially massive financial upswing has to be properly managed. And Marie was about to do something the experts strongly advised against.
In The Spotlight
When initially asked what she would like to do with her staggering lottery winnings, Marie Holmes admitted that she didn’t really know. Indeed, in the face of such an unbelievable life change, most people certainly would not have a clear vision off the bat.
She mulled over the idea of returning to school, as perhaps now she would finally have the opportunity to complete her college degree. Also, the idea of travel was tantalizing, particularly for someone who had never left the United States; Paris seemed appealing. But her next statement about her funds was about to attract some unwanted attention.
All through her times of trouble, Marie had been a faithful churchgoer. Now, she knew she wanted to use a portion of her funds to put toward her church, and similar charities. She made good on her word, cutting a check of $680,000 to the church she had attended in Shallotte, the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
Facebook/Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church
Yet although this generous sum was but a drop in the bucket compared to what she had won, it was potentially a risky move. Most financial experts advise against making drastic, life-altering purchases right after winning the lottery. And her next purchase was about to backfire.
Moving On Up
Marie took her family and left the confines of their trailer far behind, never to look back. She wouldn’t even have to buy an apartment for her new and improved living conditions. Now, thanks to the Powerball jackpot, she had the funds at her fingertips to immediately give herself a massive upgrade: she could afford her own estate.
Nevertheless, Marie made sure not to stray far from home, purchasing a gated property in Shallotte. The grounds cost her $350,000, and she moved her children into a beautiful five-bedroom home. However, several key characters were about to join her who would interrupt the joy of her journey.
With such an influx of money from lottery jackpots, it seems that suddenly everyone wants to be the winner’s friend, and Marie quickly found she was no exception. Marie had to take extra care of who she surrounded herself with, and who she chose to let into her life and her personal space.
Into her gorgeous new estate came a preacher, Pastor Kevin Matthews. While it wasn’t known what church he was coming from, Marie accepted him into her home. He prayed with her and others present, and ministered to them on several occasions. But what happened next remains up to interpretation, depending on who you ask.
According to Marie and her partner Lamarr McDow, the family felt they were unwelcome in their settings. As the only black family in their area, they felt they were viewed under a microscope. In Lamarr’s words, one neighbor even put a camera up to record their movements.
Everything felt monitored and controlled. For example, according to Lamarr, if he was merely driving down the road on his way home, and even going the speed limit, he would still get waved at and glared at by neighbors claiming he was going too fast. Whatever the case was, their new home was about to make the headlines.
The Estate Is Raided
In July 2015, based on a tip that the smell of marijuana was coming from Marie Holmes’ home, Brunswick County police managed to get a search warrant. When they entered the house, they found the couple entertaining several guests. The house was searched, and Marie and Lamarr, along with two other men, were charged with possession of both marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
One of the men resisted police, adding to his charges list. It was an unfortunate event; though many states are legalizing either medical or recreational marijuana usage (or both), North Carolina is a holdout — not to mention that black Americans have three times the chances of being arrested for possession. Unfortunately, that was not the only thing police found.
From winning the Powerball jackpot, to massive legal troubles: during the police raid on Marie’s new dream home, her partner Lamarr was found to be in possession of a firearm. This was forbidden for him, as he was a convicted felon. Lamarr had been arrested back in November 2014.
It had all began with a tip-off and after an investigation that lasted a year. The whole process had been bolstered by complaints from within the local community, and cops had busted Lamarr and two others. What they had found back then was just the beginning of a long series of troubles for him and Marie.
A Troubled Past
In November 2014, several months before Marie Holmes had won the Powerball jackpot, her partner Lamarr and his associates had been caught with what police estimated to be around 1,600 bags of heroin. In the state of North Carolina, any amount over 28 grams would carry at bare minimum a prison sentence of 225 months.
Lamarr and the others had been charged with possession, as well as intent to process the heroin, sell it, and deliver it to customers. But then Marie had won the jackpot — and as she donated to her church, she also did something with her new money that was bound to attract great controversy.
Bailing Him Out
In March 2015, mere weeks after Marie Holmes had won the Powerball jackpot, for one of her first acts with her newfound fortune, she forked over a whopping sum of $3,000,000. This money was used to pay for Lamarr’s bond and get him out of jail.
Now, just a matter of a few months later, she once again found the man she loved back in prison. And she chose, once again, to use a portion of her lottery money to help him: she now paid $6,000,000 to bail him out! And if she thought her only troubles would come from the law, she had another thing coming.
Cutting A Check
Marie Holmes found herself in extraordinary circumstances. For most ordinary citizens, the funds needed to pay off the legal fees would have been impossible to obtain. The charges set against her partner Lamarr would have kept him behind bars for a lifetime.
But thanks to one lucky slip of paper, Marie’s personal finances were anything but standard. Because of her sudden fortunes in winning the Powerball jackpot, even siphoning off a grand total of $9,000,000 was still just a small percentage of her final cash winnings. Through the drama, yet another episode was opening up — and she was powerless to stop it.
The Pastor’s Promises
Pastor Kevin Matthews, who had frequented her new home, claimed that Marie had made a promise to him, verbally, to donate him $1.5 million. The pastor was a man on a mission. He claimed that on one of his visits, he had discussed with her his dream of building a retreat center, and had settled on the number after a bit of negotiation.
He had already ran ahead to make several financial commitments, all grounded in his understanding that he would be receiving the money from her. Now, according to Matthews, Marie was reneging on her promise. And he intended to take action against her.
Launching The Lawsuit
Pastor Kevin Matthews announced that he was going to sue Powerball jackpot winner Marie Holmes for an eye-popping sum of $10,000,000. The reason, he stated, was not only for backing out on a financial promise he alleged that Marie had made.
He also claimed that he had been suffering from extreme emotional turmoil, depression, and stress, which he said had all been caused by all the business deals he had made based on his understanding that he had been promised that funding. He said his distress had been so great that he had needed to start taking medication. But soon, the ordeal would escalate even further.
The lawsuit that Pastor Kevin Matthews was threatening made headlines — and the news received quite a decent amount of negative responses. Social media and YouTube flared with individuals denouncing the pastor, finding it ridiculous that a man of faith would not only make these accusations, but would try to extort such an extravagant amount of money from her.
The process had been slow, and allegedly when Pastor Matthews filed his suit, he would not grant the name of his attorney to reporters on duty, as the paperwork for the case had not been completed yet. In the meanwhile, the hardship was not easing for Marie and Lamarr.
Spiraling Out Of Control
Just when things could not possibly have become more taxing, they did. Close to New Year’s Day 2016, Lamarr wound up getting arrested once again. Already, he had been bailed out twice, and as a part of his release conditions, had been fitted with an ankle bracelet with GPS that could track his whereabouts.
This time, he was accused of having been involved in illegal street racing. When Lamarr McDow had first been arrested over a year before, he had written that his income was zero, and his assets amounted to a mere $120. Now, he had a powerful protector — but would it be enough?
From Marie’s lottery money, Lamarr had set up a new auto-repair business in an attempt to restart his life in a positive direction. Under the conditions of his bail, he would be allowed to leave his residence between the hours of 7:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. in order to work. His new business employed 11 people, and he had strict terms with them that they could have neither drugs nor guns.
From Lamarr’s perspective, he had to go out on a work run in his pickup, and had been wrongfully detained in a case of mistaken identity. He said there weren’t many job opportunities in their area, and he had been trying to do some good and turn things around for himself and for others. As bail in North Carolina doubles each time it is renewed, his now stood at $12,000,000. What would Marie do this time around?
Though McDow claimed innocence in the street racing charge, many people reacting to the news were less than pleased. Sporting plenty of flashy new gold and diamond jewelry that Marie had bought him, he was accused of being a gold-digger. Many people on social media loudly voiced their opinions that she ought to be rid of him.
Claiming his drug trade days were behind him, Lamarr ended up taking a plea agreement for seven years imprisonment. Between mismanaged finances, a strained relationship, and family ties fracturing from within, the couple felt there was only one person they could turn to.
Fix My Life
Marie Holmes appeared on an episode of the life coach show, Iyanla: Fix My Life. There, she learned a heart-rending secret: her mother had carefully chosen the Powerball jackpot numbers based on the birthday and age of Marie’s deceased brother. Sadly, as a result of the show, the negative consequences of the lottery win now affected the rest of her family, with individuals accusing Marie of having pilfered the ticket that they claimed rightfully belonged to her grandmother.
Because of Marie’s new lifestyle, her mother started taking care of her children, across the country in Seattle. And although ultimately Marie made the decision to post $12,000,000 in bail to help Lamarr yet again, the couple claims it was only natural to do such a thing, to help their loved ones. And there’s one fantastic way they’ve managed to do right.
The Marie Holmes Foundation
All the way at the beginning of her Powerball jackpot winnings saga, before bail bonds and arrests, before preachers and lawsuits, Marie had taken $9.7 million of her winnings, and created her own foundation, The Marie Holmes Foundation, with an aunt of hers, Carmel Wheaton, as the foundation’s executive director. This was the tithe of her winnings she had spoken about.
Her fund helps the underprivileged, whose story Marie can identify with so deeply. They host toy drives and school supply handouts for families in need. At the end of the day, though opinions vary fiercely in regards to Marie and Lamarr’s story, everyone can agree on the fact that she did her best to make sure from the get-go that her lottery winnings would immediately impact her community in a positive way.
This single mother living in a trailer won the Powerball jackpot, making her the highest winner in her state's history. And then, her troubles really began.