5 Famous Lottery Winners

The lottery is a massively popular way for Americans to bet and has become popular around the world as a low-risk but potentially high-reward way to gamble. While some lottery tickets can get you a few bucks here and there, others like the Powerball and big state lotteries have some people walking home with over $1 billion.

Depending the local state laws winners may or may not stay anonymous. If someone hits a big jackpot and goes public, he or she can surely expect a lot of media attention. Some winners handle the newly found wealth and fame just fine, and live happily ever ofter, while others do not do so well - there are some truly tragic stories.

If you want to be one of those lucky multi-millionaires, you’re going to need the right tools to handle a sudden windfall of money. Read on to learn more about some of the country’s most famous lottery winners, how they handled their fame, and what to do if you end up winning the jackpot.

The Lucky Ones

Famous Lottery Winners

When someone wins the lottery, they have the option to stay anonymous or for their name to be made public. This is because there are a number of risks that can occur when the public learns of a person’s sudden windfall of money. People may start harassing the winner for money, and threats on the lives of lottery winners are not uncommon. Still, there are several lottery winners who hit the jackpot who have come forward with their success stories.

Cynthia P. Stafford - The Law of Attraction

One such winner of the lottery is a woman named Cynthia P. Stafford. In 2008, Cynthia was working as an account executive and acted as a caretaker for her five nieces and nephews, as well as her father. She was living a relatively stable life financially and career-wise but hoped for a windfall of money.

One day, she decided that she would manifest $112 million from the lottery. She chose this number with no point of reference and made it her personal mission to win that exact amount.

Every month, Cynthia would buy a few lottery tickets here and there with random numbers, completely believing and deciding that she would win that exact number of $112 million. She selected these numbers the moment she bought the tickets with no particular formula in mind.

She utilized the Law of Attraction to her advantage, and within a couple of years, she won that exact amount of money. She picked the check-up in person, sorted out her personal finances, and has lived in stable wealth ever since.

Richard Lustig - The Lottery Strategy Mastermind

Another famous winner of the lottery is Richard Lustig, who ended up winning the lottery seven times. Richard is a man from Florida who regularly played the lottery (and still does to this day). His winnings include money from a scratch-off ticket, two vacations, and four massive winnings in the Florida lottery system. He’s even written a book about his techniques to winning the lottery. Once a professional drummer, Richard, now gets to live a life of luxury.

Lustig also published the secrets of his winning system on

In TIME Magazine, he credits his post-jackpot financial stability to his level-headed nature as well as his financial advisor and lawyer.

Tayeb Souami - A Recent Success Story

One of the most recent winners of the lottery in 2018 is a man named Tayeb Souami, a man from Bergen County, New Jersey who had been playing the lottery for twenty-one years.

According to the announcement on the Powerball site, Tayeb was the sole winner of the jackpot prize and ended up winning a total of $183.2 million after taxes. At the time, he became New Jersey’s newest multi-millionaire. Along with gaining fame in his home state of New Jersey.

Risks of Winning the Lottery

Everyone who enters the lottery dreams of hitting that big jackpot, setting them up for early retirement, debt payment, and a new house. However, this isn’t the case for most jackpot winners.

As mentioned previously, there are several dire risks to winning the lottery. People can threaten you, try to con you out of money, or even try to kill you for your winnings if you don’t take great caution when winning. There is an unfortunate number of stories about people who’ve won the lottery but ended up suffering because of it.

Abraham Shakespeare - Financial Scamming and Murder

One Florida man named Abraham Shakespeare was killed for his money by a woman he befriended after hitting the jackpot. According to his Wikipedia page, Abraham was a truck driver’s assistant whose coworker bought him two lottery tickets.

It was one of which ended up getting him $17 million after taxes. He collected this money in a lump sum, meaning that he got the money all at once instead of choosing to receive a check every year.

Soon after his public win, Abraham was bombarded by people asking for money. Because he didn’t come from an affluent background, he was overwhelmed by the public harassment. He bought himself a new home in a gated community and bought new homes for other people in his community, but still, people kept asking for more out of him. One such person was a self-proclaimed “businesswoman” named Dorice Moore.

Dorice (also known as Dee-Dee) befriended Abraham after hearing about his work in the community, particularly because he bought other Floridians homes and cars. Dee-De claimed to want to help Abraham because of her business background. Abraham ended up starting up an LLC with her, through which his money was managed.

Through a business venture the two started together, Dee-Dee took $1 million of Abraham’s money and bought herself cars and a vacation. In 2009 after being out of contact with his family for almost half the year, Abraham’s family reported him missing. His body was found in the backyard of a home that Dee-Dee was connected to, buried underground, and laid beneath a fresh concrete foundation.

Autopsy reports had shown that Abraham Shakespeare had been killed five months prior, almost exactly when his family said he had stopped contacting them. Dee-Dee was found to have been lying about Abraham’s disappearance, using his phone and pretending to be him and using his money for her own advantage.

Dee-Dee was sentenced to life in prison three months later with no chance for parole – she still claims that she is innocent, but the courts did not believe her.

Jack Whittaker - The Story of A Broken Family

Another lottery winner whose life went south after getting the big prize is a man named Jack Whittaker. Jack Whittaker was the owner of a construction company who grew up in poverty in West Virginia. He was a self-made man who had to put in a significant amount of work to be able to start his own business. He lived with his wife and had a close relationship with his daughter and granddaughter, Brandi.

On Christmas Day of 2002, Jack found out that he had won $315 million in the lottery. He was elated with his winnings and went public with the news, which ended up being a disastrous decision for him and his family.

Jack began receiving a never-ending stream of requests for money from the people in his community as well as around the rest of the country. To field the requests, he started a foundation. One of Jack’s employees named Jill (who was once the cashier who sold him the ticket) states that he would receive requests in the mail and in-person wherever he went. Along with supporting his community, he also supported his family financially.

Jack made the decision to pay his granddaughter Brandi around $2000 per week starting at the age of seventeen, and also bought her four different cars, though she was just a teenager. He entrusted her with this money in the hopes of her becoming financially stable, but she ended up going down the wrong path.

Because of her access to the money and through the relationships she made with drug dealers and addicts, Brandi became addicted to hard drugs at a young age. Her body was found wrapped in plastic and dumped near a junk pile, completely crushing her grandfather’s heart as he took the blame for her death.

What to Do if You Win the Lottery

Though it may seem silly to do considering that rarely anyone wins the lottery, if you are a frequent lottery ticket buyer, it is important that you consider establishing an action plan to have in case you end up hitting the jackpot. There are a few crucial steps that you should take in order to ensure your safety and financial security on the off chance that you make it big.

Remain Anonymous and Stay Quiet

The first step you should take when you find out that you’ve won the lottery is to keep your lips zipped. Don’t tell a single soul that you’ve won the lottery – not even your spouse or best friend. This is so important because if the word spreads to the public that you’ve won the lottery before you are able to cash in your ticket, someone could steal it from you and take the money that is rightfully yours.

You absolutely must choose to stay anonymous when you pick up your winnings – this will keep people from reaching out to you for money, and will keep the press from pestering you.

Lock Up the Ticket

The second step to take to ensure your safety after winning the lottery is to put your ticket in as safe a place as possible. Many experts suggest that lottery winners buy a safe if they do not already have one. Keep your ticket on lockdown, and don’t rush to redeem your ticket.

There will be time to sort everything out on the lottery’s end – it is important to work as diligently as you possibly can on your end to ensure the right result.

The third step to take after learning about your lottery win is to hire both a lawyer. Having a lawyer is particularly important because you will need someone to have your back legally. It is a lawyer’s job to know the ins and outs of the law and to protect you from litigation.

Since you will soon be the possessor of a massive amount of money very suddenly, you need to have someone on your side who will help you navigate the process of collecting your winnings, choosing a payment option, and securing your anonymity.

Make sure to hire someone who is particularly talented with helping people navigate sudden wealth and who has a reputation for fairness. Follow all of her or his advice on how to collect your earnings and in what format you should accept them (lump sum or yearly payments).

Get a Financial Advisor

The final step for preparing yourself for winning the lottery is to find a financial advisor, preferably someone who – like your lawyer – is well-equipped to guide someone through the experience of sudden wealth.

You will need a financial advisor that is known for client success, not just the first advisor you can get in contact with. They will instruct you in the best ways to pay off any debt and invest your money so you can be wealthy in the long-term, not just for a couple of years like most lottery winners.


The lottery is one of the most popular methods of gambling in the US. The lottery seems low-risk when you’re only purchasing a ticket for a few dollars, but when you end up becoming a millionaire overnight, the risks become massive.

Some lottery winners like Cynthia Stafford and Richard Lustig have found great success in keeping their finances stable after winning the lottery, while others like Abraham Shakespeare and Jack Whittaker have faced heartbreaking fates after obtaining their fortunes.

It is crucial for lottery winners to have an action plan ahead of time on the off chance they win big. If you’re hoping to be one of those seven multi-millionaires this year, keep your ticket on lockdown, consider hiring a lawyer, and keep your win hush-hush. Good luck!