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The darkish facet of profitable the lottery: fortunate ticket may cause new troubles, previous winners say – Nationwide


Dave and Erica Harrig stayed true to their values once they gained a lottery jackpot of greater than $61 million in 2013. It made all of the distinction.

The couple from Gretna, Nebraska, a group on the outskirts of Omaha the place Dave Harrig now’s a volunteer firefighter, allowed themselves to purchase a brand new residence, some classic cars and some ocean cruises after they each stop their jobs.

However 9 years later, they nonetheless reside a lot as they at all times did, remaining of their group, maintaining with church, household and mates, and educating their youngsters to work arduous to make a residing regardless of any monetary windfall which may come their means.

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Many different winners haven’t been as fortunate, struggling private setbacks and lawsuits or turning into the victims of scams. The most recent winner of a giant jackpot got here Friday, when a single ticket offered in Illinois matched the numbers for a $1.337 billion Mega Thousands and thousands prize. Illinois is among the many states the place winners of greater than $250,000 can select to not reveal their names.

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Dave Harrig, an Air Drive veteran who labored in plane upkeep, says preserving issues easy most likely saved him and his household from the sort of hassles and tragedies which have befallen different huge winners.

Virtually in a single day, the Harrig household mailbox was stuffed with letters stuffed with arduous luck tales: sick youngsters, misplaced jobs, burned out houses.

Dave Harrig mentioned they ignored all of them and targeted on their very own household and charities.

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They didn’t even contact the principal on their winnings till just some years in the past, once they tapped into it to fund a brand new museum of firefighting in Gretna that can open quickly.

“We’ve nicer issues, an even bigger home, and greater than we ever had up to now. However we’re the identical, and my spouse and I maintain one another in verify,” Dave Harrig mentioned, encouraging future lottery winners to take a position correctly, select a nationwide funding adviser somewhat than an area one, and to keep away from advisers who attempt to promote monetary merchandise.

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They’ve ignored false rumors which have swirled about them, suggesting that his spouse at one level ran off with a physician and that he had a lawyer girlfriend. Their 4 youngsters endured teasing in school.

“We’re nonetheless studying, but it surely has helped to remain working collectively as a workforce,” he mentioned of himself and his spouse.

He acknowledged the struggles of some previous winners, saying the expertise of profitable a jackpot “can actually intensify your character and any addictions.”

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The late Andrew Whittaker Jr., of West Virginia, suffered lawsuits and private setbacks after he claimed a report $315 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas evening in 2002.

On the time, it was the biggest U.S. lottery jackpot gained by a single ticket. Individuals harassed him a lot with requests for cash he was quoted a number of instances saying he wished he had torn up the ticket.

Earlier than dying of pure causes in 2020 at age 72, he struggled with alcohol and playing issues and had a sequence of private tragedies, together with the loss of life of his granddaughter.

Successful the lottery introduced other forms of complications for Manuel Franco, of West Allis, Wisconsin, who claimed a $768 million lottery jackpot in April 2019.

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Then simply 24, Franco excitedly held a information convention to debate his win, however later reportedly went into hiding amid harassment by strangers and the information media.

The Higher Enterprise Bureau of Wisconsin started warning individuals in 2021 about messages from scammers who claimed to be the multimillion-dollar winner.

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Utilizing Franco’s title, the scammers despatched textual content messages, social media messages, cellphone calls and emails phishing for private data, telling recipients they’d been chosen to obtain cash.

The BBB mentioned scammers obtained greater than $13,000 from individuals they tricked, together with individuals in Alabama and Colorado.

Regardless of the issues encountered by the winners, lottery officers favor publicly figuring out winners to instill public belief within the video games.

That’s largely as a result of some previous drawings have been rigged. Former Multi-State Lottery Affiliation data safety director Eddie Tipton pleaded responsible in 2017 to manipulating software program so he may predict profitable numbers on sure days of the yr. He and his brother rigged jackpots in quite a few states for a mixed payout of some $24 million.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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